MELD score as a predictor of pretransplant and posttransplant survival in OPTN/UNOS status 1 patients



The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score is predictive of survival and is used to prioritize patients with chronic liver disease patients for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The aims of this study are (1) to assess the ability of MELD score at listing to predict pretransplant and posttransplant survival for nonchronic liver disease patients listed with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/ United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) as Status 1; and (2) to compare survival associated with 4 diagnostic groups within the Status 1 designation. The study population consisted of adult patients listed for OLT at Status 1 in the UNOS national database between November 1, 1999 and March 14, 2002 (N = 720). Events within 30 days of listing were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression methodology. Patients meeting criteria for fulminant hepatic failure without acetaminophen toxicity (FHF-NA, n = 312) had the poorest survival probability while awaiting OLT; this was negatively correlated with MELD score (P = .0001). These patients experienced the greatest survival benefit associated with OLT, with an estimated improvement of survival from about 58% to 91% (P < .0001). Patients listed for primary nonfunction within 7 days of OLT (n = 268) did not show mortality to be related to MELD score (P = .41) and did not show a significant association between survival and OLT (P = .68). In conclusion, liver allocation within the Status 1 designation may need to be further stratified by diagnosis, and MELD score may be useful for prioritizing FHF-NA candidates. (HEPATOLOGY 2004;39:764–769.)