Pretransplant MELD score and post liver transplantation survival in the UK and Ireland



It has been shown that the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score is an accurate predictor of survival in patients with liver disease without transplantation. Four recent studies carried out in the United States have demonstrated that the MELD score obtained immediately prior to transplantation is also associated with post-transplant patient survival. Our aim was to evaluate how accurately the MELD score predicts 90-day post-transplant survival in adult patients with chronic liver disease in the UK and Ireland. The UK and Ireland Liver Transplant Audit has data on all liver transplants since 1994. We studied survival of 3838 adult patients after first elective liver transplantation according to United Network for Organ Sharing categories of their MELD scores (≤ 10, 11–18, 19–24, 25–35, ≥36). The overall survival at 90-days was 90.2%. The 90-day survival varied according to the United Network for Organ Sharing MELD categories (92.6%, 91.9%, 89.7%, 89.7%, and 70.8%, respectively; P < 0.01). Therefore, only those patients with a MELD score of 36 or higher (3% of the patients) had a survival that was markedly lower than the rest. As a consequence, the ability of the MELD score to discriminate between patients who were dead or alive was poor (c-statistic 0.58). Re-estimating the coefficients in the MELD regression model, even allowing for nonlinear relationships, did not improve its discriminatory ability. In conclusion, in the UK and Ireland the MELD score is significantly associated with post-transplant survival, but its predictive ability is poor. These results are in agreement with results found in the United States. Therefore, the most appropriate system to support patient selection for transplantation will be one that combines a pretransplant survival model (e.g., MELD score) with a properly developed post-transplant survival model. (Liver Transpl 2004;10:903–907.)