The MELD score in advanced liver disease: Association with clinical portal hypertension and mortality

Sammy Saab, Carmen Landaverde, Ayman B. Ibrahim, Francisco Durazo, Steven Han, Hasan Yersiz, Douglas G. Farmer, R. Mark Ghobrial, Leonard I. Goldstein, Myron J. Tong, Ronald W. Busuttil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background. The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score is a measure of chronic liver disease severity. Patients awaiting transplantation are assessed using this score. However, it has recently been suggested that changes in MELD score may be as important as the absolute MELD score in predicting short-term survival. However, clinical factors that affect the MELD score are unknown. We sought to identify predictors of mortality for potential transplant patients and examine factors that might predict changes in MELD score. Materials and Methods: Between January 1, 2002, and July 30, 2004, we retrospectively examined risk factors of 429 adult patients awaiting liver transplantation at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Analysis of the data was performed using demographics, manifestations of portal hypertension, time between last MELD recorded and event, and laboratory values. Significant factors in univariate analysis were further studied using Cox proportional hazards regression multivariate analysis. Results: At mean follow-up of 2.15 years (± 1.49 years), 71 patients (16.5%) had MELD scores that increased 5-10 points, 22 had changes of 10-15 points, and 14 had changes of 15-20 points. Manifestations of portal hypertension, laboratory values, and etiology of liver disease did not predict changes in MELD score. However, development of hepatic encephalopathy (HR, 3.95; P = .002; 95% Cl, 1.70 to 9.42) and MELD score (HR, 1.04; P =.001; 95% Cl, 1.004 to 1.08) were associated with variceal bleeding. Also, MELD score (HR, 1.07; P < .001; 95% Cl, 1.05 to 1.09), refractory ascites (HR, 2.15; P =.002; 95% Cl, 1.31 to 3.53), and alcoholic cirrhosis (HR, 0.40; P = .04, 95% Cl, 0.18 to 0.94) were independent predictors of mortality. Conclusions: Encephalopathy and ME LD score were associated with variceal bleeding. Patients with an elevated MELD score, refractory ascites, and alcoholic cirrhosis had increased mortality while on the liver transplant list. No factors predicting changes in the MELD score were identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-399
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental and Clinical Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Liver transplantation
  • MELD
  • Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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