Intraregional model for end-stage liver disease score variation in liver transplantation: Disparity in our own backyard

Kristopher P. Croome, David D. Lee, Justin M. Burns, Andrew P. Keaveny, C. Burcin Taner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Variation in average Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score at liver transplantation (LT) by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) regions is well documented. The present study aimed to investigate MELD variation at the interregional, intraregional, and intra–donation service area (DSA) levels. Patients undergoing LT between 2015 and 2016 were obtained from the UNOS standard analysis and research file. The distribution of allocation MELD score including median, skew, and kurtosis was examined for all transplant programs. Intraregional median allocation MELD varied significantly within all 11 UNOS regions. The largest variation between programs was seen in region 5 (MELD 24.0 versus 38.5) and region 3 (MELD 20.5 versus 32.0). Regions 1, 5, and 9 had the largest proportion of programs with a highly negative skewed MELD score (50%, 57%, and 57%, respectively), whereas regions 3, 6, 10, and 11 did not have any programs with a highly negative skew. MELD score distribution was also examined in programs located in the same DSA, where no barriers exist and theoretically no significant difference in allocation should be observed. The largest DSA variation in median allocation MELD score was seen in NYRT-OP1 LiveOnNY (MELD score variation 11), AZOB-OP1 Donor Network of Arizona (MELD score variation 11), MAOB-OP1 New England Organ Bank (MELD score variation 9), and TXGC-OP1 LifeGift Organ Donation Ctr (MELD score variation 9). In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that this MELD disparity is not only present at the interregional level but can be seen within regions and even within DSAs between programs located as close as several city blocks away. Although organ availability likely accounts for a component of this disparity, the present study suggests that transplant center behavior may also play a significant role. Liver Transplantation 24 488–496 2018 AASLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-496
Number of pages9
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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