A systematic review of the performance of the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) in the setting of liver transplantation



The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score is now used for allocation in liver transplantation (LT) waiting lists, replacing the Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) score. However, there is debate as whether it is superior to CTP score to predict mortality in patients with cirrhosis on the LT waiting list and after LT. We reviewed studies comparing the accuracy of MELD vs. CTP score in transplantation settings. We found that in studies of the LT waiting list (12,532 patients with cirrhosis), only 4 of 11 showed MELD to be superior to CTP in predicting short-term (3-month) mortality. In addition, 2 of 3 studies (n = 1,679) evaluating the changes in MELD score (ΔMELD) showed that ΔMELD had better prediction for mortality than the baseline MELD score. The impact of MELD on post-LT mortality was assessed in 15 studies (20,456 patients); only 6 (9,522 patients) evaluated the discriminative ability of MELD score using the concordance (c) statistic (the MELD score had always a c-statistic < 0.70). In 11 studies (19,311 patients), high MELD score indicated poor post-LT mortality for cutoff values of 24-40 points. In re-LT patients, 2 of 4 studies evaluated the discriminative ability of MELD score on post-LT mortality. Finally, several studies have shown that the predictive ability of MELD score increases by adding clinical variables (hepatic encephalopathy, ascites) or laboratory (sodium) parameters. On the basis of the current literature, MELD score does not perform better than the CTP score for patients with cirrhosis on the waiting list and cannot predict post-LT mortality. Liver Transpl 12:1049–1061, 2006. © 2006 AASLD.