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Lee YM, Fernandez M, Da Costa M, Lee KH, Sutedja DS, Tai BC, Tan KC, Isaac J, Prabhakaran K, Lim SG
Correspondence: Dr Seng-Gee Lim, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score is a good predictor of mortality on the liver transplant waiting list and is the current system of organ allocation in the USA. However, a higher MELD may be associated with poorer outcome post-liver transplantation. The aim of this study was to determine if MELD should be implemented as the system for organ allocation for liver transplantation in Singapore.
Methods There were 46 adult patients who underwent primary liver transplantation at the National University Hospital, Singapore from January 1996 to December 2002. We applied the MELD score to patients who were transplanted and looked for a correlation with survival post-transplant. Patients were followed-up until the most recent visit or death. Survival analysis was performed using Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier method.
Results The mean age at transplant was 52.7 (SD 2.34) years. The majority of the patients transplanted had Hepatitis B (43 percent). The median MELD score at transplantation was 17 (7-42) and the median Child's score was 11 (6-15). There was a significant correlation between pre-transplant MELD and survival at six months (p-value is 0.037, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] is 1.004-1.13) but not at one year (p-value is 0.065, 95 percent CI is 0.99-1.12). There were no differences in the pre-transplant MELD (odds-ratio [OR] 1, 95 percent CI 0.9-1) as well as survival for patients with and without Hepatitis B (OR 0.72, 95 percent CI 0.22-2.35).
Conclusion MELD allows livers to be allocated to the patients with the greatest medical urgency but its influence on post-transplant survival should be further clarified so that post-transplant survival is not compromised.
Keywords: hepatitis B, liver transplantation, MELD score, organ allocation
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(7): 592-594