Organ allocation for liver transplantation in the United States is based on the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score.
The MELD score prioritizes organ distribution to sicker patients.
Dr Jawad Ahmad and colleagues from Pennsylvania, USA found limited data on the effect of this policy on transplantation in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system.
|Mean waiting time decreased from 461 days to 252 days in the MELD era|
The team's aim of this study was to determine the impact of the MELD score on United States veteran patients undergoing liver transplantation.
The research team compared MELD scores and waiting time of liver transplantation recipients before and after the introduction of the MELD system.
A total of 192 liver transplantation recipients were analyzed.
Blood type, diagnosis, listing MELD score, and Child-Turcotte-Pugh score at transplant did not differ although MELD era recipients were older.
The researchers observed that mean waiting time decreased from 461 days pre-MELD to 252 days in the MELD era.
Mean MELD score at liver transplantation increased from 20 in the pre-MELD era compared to 23 in the MELD era.
Dr Ahmad's team concluded," Waiting time for liver transplantation in USA veterans has decreased significantly in the MELD era."
"The MELD score of patients transplanted in the MELD era is significantly higher and patients are still being listed at a high MELD score."
"The MELD system has lead to sicker veterans being transplanted with shorter waiting times."