Meld Score For Liver Transplant


Management Of Patients With Decompensated Liver Cirrhosis

How is the MELD score used for liver transplant candidates?

In the USA, the MELD score has been implemented since 2002 as a score to prioritise access to liver transplantation . Most countries in Europe have implemented the principle of the sickest first to prioritise such access also based on the MELD score, despite some differences between countries. The principle of the sickest first is one of justice and has achieved a reduction in mortality whilst on the waiting list in most countries. However, there are several inherent issues that must be addressed.

First, the MELD score, calculated from bilirubin, creatinine and international normalised ratio levels, is not the holy grail . Some patients with severe liver diseases are poorly represented by the MELD score, such as, for example, patients with cholestatic diseases, who have, until the very late stage, a low MELD score due to normal international normalised ratio and creatinine levels, patients with refractory ascites and otherwise preserved liver function, patients with chronic encephalopathy due to portacaval shunts, and patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome. Thus, these patients should be offered MELD exception points to provide them the possibility to access liver transplantation .

How The Score Is Calculated

The Child-Pugh score uses five measures of liver disease:

  • Total bilirubin, a yellowish compound found in bile and blood when hemoglobin breaks down
  • Albumin, the main protein in blood plasma, which your liver makes
  • Prothrombin time or INR, how long it takes your blood to clot
  • Ascites, fluid in your abdominal cavity
  • Encephalopathy, whether your brain is affected by your liver disease

Each measure gets one, two, or three points, with three being the most serious.

For example, if you have no ascites, you get one point in that category. If you have mild ascites, you get two points. If you have moderate or severe ascites, you get three points.

The Model For End Stage Liver Disease

The MELD score was originally designed to predict 3-month mortality of patients with cirrhosis undergoing transjugular portosystemic intrahepatic shunt .17 Multivariable analysis found four independent variables that had an impact on survival. Subsequently, a modified model with three of the original variables was shown to accurately predict 3-month mortality in patients with cirrhosis listed for liver transplant.18 Since its initial development, the MELD score has been validated as a robust marker of early and long-term survival in patients with CLD across a wide spectrum of disease causes and settings .6,11,19,20

The strength of the MELD score as a prognostic model lies in its rigorous statistical foundation and its use of objective, readily available parameters. However, the MELD score does overestimate liver disease severity in patients with intrinsic renal disease, patients with hyperbilirubinemia secondary to Gilbert syndrome, and patients on anticoagulation therapy.21 Studies also have suggested that a subset of patients with a low MELD score and refractory ascites and hyponatremia,2226 or complications such as hepatopulmonary syndrome,27,28 mild portopulmonary hypertension, or ascites with large-volume pleural effusion are at high risk for death in the absence of a liver transplantation.29

Richard S. Mangus MD, A. Joseph. Tector MD, PhD, in, 2011

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Management Of Patients With High Meld Score Or In The Intensive Care Unit

Considering the dramatic improvement of the results of liver transplantation over the past years, we need to be more reactive regarding the indication of liver transplantation in the most severe patients, i.e. those in the ICU. When a patient is referred in a critical condition, the very first question to address is: is this patient a potential candidate for liver transplantation? For alcoholic cirrhotic patients, or for patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis refractory to medical treatment, this will require an urgent workup, advice from a specialist in alcohol addiction, and a consensus decision from the team . When the decision for liver transplantation is taken, patient prognosis should be assessed using ICU scores rather than the MELD score . An urgent workup to assess comorbidities is also required. The difficult issue is the definition of the optimal window for transplantation in such severe cases. The risk is to perform transplantation in patients without an adequate workup at the worse moment. Therefore, coordination with the ICU specialists in order to determine the appropriate timing for liver transplantation is essential. The optimal transplantation window between several complications is difficult to determine, but essential for its success. This transplantation window may be open during the ICU stay or soon after recovery prior to the advent of the next deteriorating event .

Updating Your Meld Score

Table 1 from Model of end stage liver disease (MELD) score greater than ...

Since your MELD score is calculated by your doctor, you’re not responsible for updating it. It’s up to your doctor to decide when you need new tests.

Make sure you attend all follow-up appointments and complete all necessary lab tests and check in with your doctor anytime your condition worsens. You should call your transplant coordinator if you have questions about your MELD score.

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Understanding Meld Score For Liver Transplant


There is a significant gap between the adults who are severely standing in the line of liver transplant and the organ available in India. Before anyone should go for organ transplant one must have a complete understanding of what MELD score is? Why is it important?

For many, liver transplant in India is a major reason for survival. As it also increases the life expectancy of an individual patient. There are many best Liver doctors in India and you can expect good care. Best liver doctors in India would suggest Patients with a MELD score of 25 or higher should at least once visit a doctor every week, score 19 to 24 should go check once every month, score between 18 to 24 should go once every three month, and for the patient score 1 to 10 should go check once every year.

MELD stands for Model for End Stage Liver Disease. What exactly is this MELT Test? Let us discuss and try to find out. Under the Liver transplant, patients are categorically lined up according to their body type, size, and Model for End Stage of Liver Disease score. MELD scores range from 6 to 40.

Let us talk about what steps in Liver Transplant procedure doctor follows:

When you go for a Liver transplant to your best liver doctor in India, will review the following tests:

CT Scan, Doppler UltraSound, Pulmonary function, and blood test.

You may have to stay in the hospital after liver transplantation for a minimum of 10 to 14 days.

Calculating Your Meld Score

A MELD score is calculated using the results of key laboratory tests, as well as any recent dialysis data related to renal failure.

Values used in the calculation include:

  • Creatinine: This kidney function test is done because liver disease can lead to kidney failure .
  • Bilirubin: This is a measure of how well the liver gets rid of bile. Increased levels are common in liver disease.
  • International Normalized Ratio : This is a measure of clotting factors the liver is unable to manufacture as liver disease progresses.
  • Serum sodium: This was added to the formula in January of 2016 to assess sodium levels.

Blood tests need to be performed within 48 hours of the time the calculation is made to be accurate and to qualify for liver transplant consideration.

Since the formula used to determine the score is complex, a MELD calculator is often to do the number crunching. The Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, has a MELD Calculator that anyone can use.

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Meld Score And Transplant

Livers are donated in the spirit of altruism and are a limited national resource thus, it is only right that donor livers be allocated in a fair manner. California Pacific Medical Centers Liver Transplant Program adheres to national policies developed by the United Network for Organ Sharing . UNOS has a federal contract to operate the National Organ and Procurement and Transplantation Network.

The local federally designated Organ Procurement Organization, California Transplant Donor Network , facilitates equitable distribution of donor livers between the local liver transplant centers .

CTDN acts as a bridge between a donor hospital and the local transplant centers. It is the policy of UNOS that all potential recipients of organ transplants must be listed on the national UNOS computer waiting list, with the priority for a donor organ determined by factors discussed below.

Donor organs that become available in the local area are offered to patients on the waiting list of one of the three local liver transplant centers. Occasionally, there is not a good match for any patient at the three centers and a donor liver is sent out of the local area conversely, we sometimes receive livers from distant hospitals, particularly for the most ill patients.

Recipients are chosen primarily on the basis of medical urgency within each ABO blood group. Waiting time is only a factor when patients have the same MELD score.

Local versus distant

ABO type

Body size

Faq: Getting A Liver Transplant

Liver Transplant Houston: Understanding What My MELD Score Means

Who gets priority for a liver transplant?

Throughout the United States, patients waiting for liver transplants are prioritized based on the severity of their illness, as measured by what’s called the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score. The score uses blood tests to determine how urgently you need a liver transplant within the next three months. The sicker you are, the higher your MELD score scores range from six to 40 .

In the Bay Area, there are many more people who need liver transplants than there are donors. Because the waiting list is so long, you must have a very high MELD score to get a transplant at UCSF or other local transplant centers. Most patients are quite sick by the time they receive a transplant, and some will die before they can get one. Some patients grow worse suddenly, and become too sick to receive a transplant.

Is there a way to expedite a transplant?

Yes. One option is to go to a transplant center in an area of the country where the waiting list is shorter and patients get transplants with MELD scores that are much lower than what’s needed in the Bay Area. If you’re interested in this option, ask your insurance company for referrals to such centers or search the United Network for Organ Sharing Web site.

What’s an “ideal liver”?

What’s a non-ideal liver?

Non-ideal livers from the following kinds of donors carry a higher risk of transmitting infection or cancer:

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Which Lab Results Determine Your Meld Score

The lab test results that inform the MELD-Na score are:

  • Total bilirubin, which measures how effectively the liver excretes bile
  • International Normalized Ratio , which measures the liver’s ability to make blood clotting factors and
  • Creatinine, which measures kidney function
  • Serum sodium, which measures the severity of conditions such as portal hypertension which can be caused by cirrhosis.

What Meld Score Is Needed For A Liver Transplant

Liver transplant candidates based on MELD scores are prioritized as follows :

  • Status 1A and 1B in the same region as the donor
  • MELD score 35 and higher within the donor’s region
  • Local candidates with a MELD score greater than 15
  • Regional candidates with a MELD score greater than 15
  • National candidates who are status 1A or 1B
  • National candidates with a MELD score greater than 15
  • Candidates with a MELD score less than 15, first locally, then regionally, then nationally

That said, there are priority situations in which transplantation may be considered regardless of score. These include:

  • Priority exemption 1A: When a person has acute liver failure and would be expected to survive only hours to a few days without a transplant
  • Priority exemption 1B: When very ill, chronically ill children are less than 18 years of age

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Is There A Competition On The Waiting List Between Patients With Decompensated Liver Cirrhosis Patients With Meld Exceptions And Patients With Hcc

Since the points assigned to patients with HCC are given arbitrarily, there is a risk of disequilibrium in favour of these patients depending on the weight given to these points. It is true that, in most countries, the percentage of patients on the waiting list with HCC is increasing, and is currently at 3040%. Such an increase is due to the epidemiology of liver diseases, the increasing number of patients with HCC and the high benefit in survival by liver transplantation to patients with HCC. In addition, the criteria for liver transplantation for HCC have evolved. Since 1996, the Milan criteria were the validated criteria for liver transplantation for HCC . With these criteria, the recurrence of HCC after liver transplantation was below 10%. The Milan citeria are still the validated international criteria. There is a push from several teams to expand these criteria. In France, the Milan criteria have been replaced by the AFP score . Therefore, several new criteria have been proposed. The UCSF criteria the up to seven criteria and the AFP score, taking into account the size, number of nodules and the level of AFP .

History Of The Meld Score


A MELD score was originally used to predict three-month survival in end-stage liver disease, largely replacing the Child-Turcotte-Pugh system. MELD scores were adopted by the United Network for Organ Sharing in 2002 to help prioritize people waiting for a liver transplant. In 2016, serum sodium was added to the MELD score formula, with other changes currently being evaluated.

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What Is Meld How Will It Be Used

The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease system was implemented February 27, 2002 to prioritize patients waiting for a liver transplant. MELD is a numerical scale used for adult liver transplant candidates. The range is from 6 to 40 . The individual score determines how urgently a patient needs a liver transplant within the next three months. The number is calculated using the most recent laboratory tests.

Lab values used in the MELD calculation:

Bilirubin, which measures how effectively the liver excretes bile

INR , measures the livers ability to make blood clotting factors

Creatinine, which measures kidney function. Impaired kidney function is often associated with severe liver disease.

Serum Sodium a recent addition to the lab values used.

Within the MELD continuous disease severity scale, there are four levels. As the MELD score increases, and the patient moves up to a new level, a new waiting time clock starts. Waiting time is carried backwards but not forward. If a patient moves to a lower MELD score, the waiting time accumulated at the higher score remains.

When a patient moves to a higher MELD score, the waiting time at the lower level is not carried to the new level. The clock at the new level starts at 0. (Example: Patient has a MELD score of 15 and has been at level 11-18 for 100 days.

The four MELD levels are:

greater than or equal to 25


less than or equal to 10

To determine your score, you can enter your lab values into the UNOS MELD calculator.

What Is The Current Basis For Prioritizing Patients For Cadaveric Transplantation

Priority for liver transplantation is currently determined by the MELD score, which incorporates serum creatinine , bilirubin , and internationalized normalized ratio into the following mathematical equation predictive of 90-day survival:

A MELD score predicts 90-day mortality, and therefore patients with high MELD scores have a higher priority for transplantation. Patients with a MELD score < 9 have only a 2% 90-day mortality rate, whereas patients with a MELD score of 40 have a 71% mortality rate. Liver allocation based on MELD score differs in two major respects compared with the previous system:

Subjective measures, such as degree of ascites and encephalopathy, are not included.

Time on the waiting list plays a minor role, serving only to break ties between patients with the same score.

Mohamad H. Imam, Jayant A. Talwalkar, in, 2015

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Understanding The Meld And Peld Score And Its Role In Liver Transplant Allocation

The liver is one of the most commonly transplanted solid organs in the United States today. The United Network for Organ Sharing is a mission-driven non-profit that leads the network of transplant hospitals, organ procurement organizations, and thousands of volunteers who are dedicated to saving lives through organ transplants.1 According to UNOS, 8,494 livers were transplanted in 2021. These numbers are similar to data provided from 2020 which showed that a total of 8,906 liver transplants occurred.2 Despite these impressive numbers, there are a significantly larger number of patients still in need of a liver transplant who are currently on a waiting list. One of the many factors that gets taken into consideration when determining which patients are in more urgent need of a liver transplant is the MELD score. 1,3,4

The MELD score stands for Model for End-Stage Liver Disease. This is a prognostic scoring system based on specific laboratory measurements, used to predict 3-month mortality due to liver disease in patients 12 years of age and older.3 The MELD score, as previously mentioned, helps clinicians determine how urgently a patient needs a liver transplant. Scores can range anywhere from 6-40, and are based on results of several lab tests. The higher the number, the more severe the liver impairment, and the more likely that the patient will receive a liver transplant from a deceased donor when an organ becomes available.3,4


Appropriate Use Of The Meld

Waiting List, MELD Score, Liver Transplants – Dr. Robert S. Brown
  • The original MELD calculator was used to predict mortality in those undergoing placement of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt
  • The MELD score has been validated to predict short-term survival in patients with cirrhosis waiting for liver transplantation, but it also was found to be useful in predicting liver-related mortality in patients with alcoholic hepatitis, acute liver failure, acute variceal hemorrhage, or postsurgical procedures
  • MELD is useful in determining when a patient should be evaluated for transplant the benefit of liver transplantation outweighs the risk once MELD score is 15 or higher
  • Calculate MELD score when consideringTIPS for refractory ascites or variceal bleeding patients with MELD scores of 18 or higher have significant post-TIPS mortality rates
  • Include MELD score in thepreoperative evaluation of patients with cirrhosis undergoing abdominal, orthopedic, or cardiac surgery
  • In patients with alcoholic hepatitis, MELD score of > 20 identifies severe disease, when steroid treatment should be considered
  • Patients listed for liver transplantation will have their MELD scores updated at regular intervals (from every 7 days if 25 or greater, to every 1-3 months

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