Impact of Recipient MELD Score on Resource Utilization


*Corresponding author: Kenneth Washburn,


The model for end stage liver disease (MELD) system prioritizes deceased donor organs to the sickest patients who historically require higher healthcare expenditures. Limited information exists regarding the association of recipient MELD score with resource use. Adult recipients of a primary liver allograft (n = 222) performed at a single center in the first 27 months of the MELD system were analyzed. Costs were obtained for each recipient for the 12 defined categories of resource utilization from the time of transplant until discharge. True (calculated) MELD scores were used. Inpatient transplant costs were significantly associated with recipient MELD score (r= 0.20; p = 0.002). Overall 1-year patient survival was 85.0% and was not associated with MELD score (p = 0.57, log rank test). Recipient MELD score was significantly associated with costs for pharmacy, laboratories, radiology, dialysis and physical therapy. Multivariate linear regression revealed that MELD score was most strongly associated with cost compared to other demographic and clinical factors. Recipient MELD score is correlated with transplant costs without significantly impacting survival.