Combined liver–kidney and liver transplantation in patients with renal failure outcomes in the MELD era


Timothy M. Schmitt MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery, University of Virginia, PO Box 800709, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA. Tel.: 434 243 6573; fax: 434 924 5539; e-mail:


With the implementation of the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) scoring system, the number of combined liver–kidney transplants (CLKT) has increased dramatically. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) dataset was analysed for adult recipients with renal failure for the period between February 2002 and April 2006. This group was subdivided into patients on hemodialysis (HD) and to those not on HD prior to transplantation. All recipients in renal failure (serum creatinine ≥2.5 mg/dl) at the time of transplantation were included. A total of 1397 subjects were in renal failure but not on HD (18% received a CLKT, 82% underwent LT alone). Another 1740 subjects were on HD prior to transplantation (41% received a CLKT while 59% received a LT). In dialysis-dependent recipients, Cox regression analysis demonstrated CLKT had an independent protective effect. In subjects on HD, CLKT had improved survival at 1 year (79.4 vs. 73.7%, P = 0.004). In patients in renal failure without HD, CLKT was not protective.  CLKT subjects had a nonsignificant difference in survival as compared with patients who had undergone liver transplantation alone, at 1 year (81.0% vs. 78.8%, P > 0.10). In subjects undergoing CLKT, there was improved survival at 1 year as compared with LT-alone patients on hemodialysis; however, in patients with renal failure, but not on hemodialysis, there was no difference in survival when comparing CLKT to LT-alone.