1 Division of Abdominal Transplantation, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
2 Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
3 Margaret M. and Albert B. Alkek Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
The field of liver transplantation has shifted considerably in the MELD era, including changing allocation, immunosuppression, and liver failure etiologies, as well as better supportive therapies. Our aim was to evaluate the predictive accuracy of the MELD score over time. The United Network for Organ Sharing provided de-identified data on 120 156 patients listed for liver transplant from 2002-2016. The ability of the MELD score to predict 90-day mortality was evaluated by a concordance (C-) statistic and corroborated with competing risk analysis. The MELD score's concordance with 90-day mortality has downtrended from 0.80 in 2003 to 0.70 in 2015. While lab MELD scores at listing and transplant climbed in that interval, score at waitlist death remained steady near 35. Listing age increased from 50 to 54 years. HCV-positive status at listing dropped from 33 to 17%. The concordance of MELD and mortality does not differ with age (>60 = 0.73, <60 = 0.74), but is lower in diseases that are increasing most rapidly-alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-and higher in those that are declining, particularly in HCV-positive patients (HCV positive = 0.77; negative = 0.73). While MELD still predicts mortality, its accuracy has decreased; changing etiology of disease may contribute.