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Lim SG, Wai CT, Da Costa M, Sutedja DS, Lee YM, Lee KH, Tan CK, Aw MM, Quak SH, Prabhakaran K, Tan KC, Isaac J
Correspondence: Dr Seng-Gee Lim, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Referral patterns, waiting times, waiting list, and mortality provide information on how effectively a transplant programme deals with referred patients. This paper aims to review these parameters in the Singapore National Liver Transplant Programme.
Methods Data of all patients referred to the Singapore National Liver Transplant Programme since its inception were captured and outcomes were retrieved and described.
Results 562 patients were referred for liver transplant evaluation from 1990-2004, consisting of 457 adults and 105 children. The main indications for referral were hepatitis B liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma in adults, and biliary atresia in children. Most patients were of United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) status 3 or 4 at the time of referral. 114 (20.28 percent) patients had transplants, consisting of 66 adults (14.44 percent) and 48 (45.71 percent) children. 138 adults and ten children were rejected for transplant, mainly for the reason of being "too early". The median waiting time for adults who had transplants was 3.3 months while adults still on the waiting list had been waiting for 16.2 months. The overall waiting list mortality was 44.3 percent, being 52.5 percent in adults and 23.2 percent in children.
Conclusion The overall transplantation rate is low and the waiting list mortality is high as a result of low availability of organs, particularly in adults. Paediatric liver transplant appears to have been better at dealing with referred patients but this is probably due to availability of living-related liver transplant. Improvement in these may result from the Human Organ Transplant Act.
Keywords: liver transplantation, organ availability, patient referral patterns, waiting lists
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(7): 599-603