Underutilization of Living Donor Liver Transplantation in the United States: Bias against MELD 20 and Higher. Journal of clinical and translational hepatology Perumpail, R. B., Yoo, E. R., Cholankeril, G., Hogan, L., Deis, M., Concepcion, W. C., Bonham, C. A., Younossi, Z. M., Wong, R. J., Ahmed, A. 2016; 4 (3): 169-174


Background and Aims: Utilization of living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) and its relationship with recipient Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) needs further evaluation in the United States (U.S.). We evaluated the association between recipient MELD score at the time of surgery and survival following LDLT. Methods: All U.S. adult LDLT recipients with MELD < 25 were evaluated using the 1995-2012 United Network for Organ Sharing registry. Survival following LDLT was stratified into three MELD categories (MELD < 15 vs. MELD 15-19 vs. MELD 20-24) and evaluated using Kaplan-Meier methods and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models. Results: Overall, 2,258 patients underwent LDLT. Compared to patients with MELD < 15, overall 5-year survival following LDLT was similar among patients with MELD 15-19 (80.9% vs. 80.3%, p = 0.77) and MELD 20-24 (81.2% vs. 80.3%, p = 0.73). When compared to patients with MELD < 15, there was no significant difference in long-term post-LDLT survival among those with MELD 15-19 (HR: 1.11, 95% CI: 0.85-1.45, p = 0.45) and a non-significant trend towards lower survival in patients with MELD 20-24 (HR: 1.28, 95% CI: 0.91-1.81, p = 0.16). Only 14% of LDLTs were performed in patients with MELD 20-24 and the remaining 86% in patients with MELD < 20. Conclusion: LDLT is underutilized in patients with MELD 20 and higher.

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