Umgelter, Andreas; Hapfelmeier, Alexander; Kopp, Wouter; van Rosmalen, Marieke; Rogiers, Xavier; Guba, Markus
Disparities in Eurotransplant liver transplantation wait-list outcome between patients with and without model for end-stage liver disease exceptions.
The sickest-first principle in donor-liver allocation can be implemented by allocating organs to patients with cirrhosis with the highest Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores. For patients with other risk factors, standard exceptions (SEs) and nonstandard exceptions (NSEs) have been developed. We investigated whether this system of matched MELD scores achieves similar outcomes on the liver transplant waiting list for various diagnostic groups in Eurotransplant (ET) countries with MELD-based individual allocation (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany). A retrospective analysis of the ET wait-list outflow from December 2006 until December 2015 was conducted to investigate the relation of the unified MELD-based allocation to the risk of a negative wait-list outcome (death on the waiting list or delisting as too sick) as opposed to a positive wait-list outcome (transplantation or delisting as recovered). A total of 16,926 patients left the waiting list with a positive (11,580) or negative (5346) outcome; 3548 patients had a SE, and 330 had a NSE. A negative outcome was more common among patients without a SE or NSE (34.3%) than among patients with a SE (22.6%) or NSE (18.6%; P < 0.001). Analysis by model-based recursive partitioning detected 5 risk groups with different relations of matched MELD to a negative outcome. In Germany, we found the following: (1) no SE or NSE, SE for biliary sepsis (BS); (2) SE for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS), or portopulmonary hypertension (PPH); and (3) SE for primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) or polycystic liver disease (PcLD). In Belgium and the Netherlands, we found the following: (4) SE or NSE, or SE for HPS or PPH; and (5) SE for BS, HCC, PcLD, or PSC. In conclusion, SEs and NSEs do not even out risks across different diagnostic groups. Patients with SEs or NSEs appear advantaged toward patients with cirrhosis without SEs or NSEs. Liver Transplantation 23 1256-1265 2017 AASLD.