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No Improvement in Intention-to-treat Survival and Increasing Liver Nonutilization Rate During the MELD Era.

Transplantation 2024 April 17
BACKGROUND: Although post liver transplant survival rates have significantly improved during the past 2-3 decades, the trend in intention-to-treat (ITT) survival (survival from waitlist addition) has not been well studied.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients data to determine the trend in ITT survival in liver transplant candidates. Adult (age ≧ 18 y) patients who were on the waitlist between the time period of March 1, 2002, to December 31, 2019 (n = 200 816) and deceased liver donors that were registered between the same time period (n = 152 593) were analyzed.

RESULTS: We found a constant increase in posttransplant survival rates; however, the ITT survival rates showed no statistically significant improvement through the study period. We observed significant linear increase in waitlist dropout rates over time. We also observed linear increase in liver nonutilization rate in both entire cases and brain-dead cases. Donor risk index increased significantly over the years; however, it was mostly driven by increase in donation after circulatory death cases; without donation after circulatory death cases, donor risk index was stable throughout the 17 y we observed.

CONCLUSIONS: The reason of the increased liver nonutilization rate is unclear; however, it is possible that reluctance to use high-risk organ to maintain better posttransplant outcomes contributed to this increase, which also could have led to increase in waitlist dropout rates and no improvements in ITT survival. Further investigation is warranted on the increased nonutilization rates to improve over all contribution of liver transplant to patient care.

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