Preoperative delta-MELD score does not independently predict mortality after liver transplantation.
Changes in model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score of > or = 5 points over 30 days (delta-MELD) is an independent predictor for death in patients awaiting liver transplantation. The aim of the current study was to determine if a positive change in MELD score occurring over the 30 days immediately prior to liver transplantation was predictive of posttransplant mortality. MELD scores from the day of transplantation and 30 days prior to transplantation were calculated for 1510 UNOS patients and used to compute a delta-MELD score. Multivariate modeling determined predictors of posttransplant mortality. Patients with a preoperative delta-MELD > or = 5 had higher absolute MELD scores at transplant, shorter mean posttransplant survival and higher mortality. However, multivariate analysis showed that none of the excess mortality was attributable to the high delta-MELD score (p = 0.43 for delta-MELD > or = 5) and the majority of the excess risk was attributable to absolute MELD score (p < 0.001) at the time of transplantation. Mortality of patients with rapidly worsening chronic liver disease who undergo transplantation depends substantially on absolute MELD score at the time of transplantation but not the rate of change immediately preceding transplant. Allocation policymakers should consider that a high delta-MELD in the immediate pretransplant period does not indicate greater posttransplant mortality.
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