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Waiting time, not donor-risk-index, is a major determinant for beneficial outcome after liver transplantation in high-MELD patients

Falk Rauchfuss, Ahmed Zidan, Hubert Scheuerlein, Yves Dittmar, Astrid Bauschke, Utz Settmacher

Ann Transplant 2013; 18:243-247

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.883924

Background: Due to the increasing donor shortage, patients undergo liver transplantation actually mostly with high MELD-scores. In this study, we analyze high-MELD patients who underwent liver transplantation at a german single center.
Material and Methods: Since implementation of the MELD-score within the Eurotransplant region (December 2006) up to May 2011, 45 patients with a lab-MELD-score ≥36 underwent liver transplantation at our center. We correlated the 1-year-survival with donor data (especially the donor risk index, DRI), the time interval from reaching a lab-MELD-score ≥36 up to liver transplantation and the recipient’s state prior transplantation.
Results: The overall 1-year-survival in our cohort is 68,8%. Waiting time of survivors was significantly shorter compared to non-survivors (MedianSurvivors: 2 days vs. MedianNon-survivors: 4 days; p=0.049). DRI showed no significant differences between both groups. Furthermore, the recipient’s state prior transplantation (dialysis, mechanical ventilation, catecholamines) showed no significant association with the outcome.
Conclusions: The outcome after liver transplantation in high-MELD patients is worse compared to that of patients with a marked lower MELD-score. Especially the time interval between reaching a lab-MELD score ≥36 to the transplantation is a major determinant for survival. Since the DRI is not associated with a worsened outcome, transplantation centers should accept even marginal organs for high-MELD patients to keep the waiting time as short as possible.

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