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Mayo Clinic Proceedings contributors discuss impact of donor organ allocation system
Date:2/6/2008

could result in changes in the approach to referrals for liver transplant, writes Dr. Aranda-Michel.

Mayo researchers examined medical records from 555 patients referred for liver transplant at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville Transplant Center from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2005. A transplant selection committee typically determines patient eligibility for liver transplant using a variety of criteria, including a patients MELD score. From these 555 patients, 260 were accepted for liver transplant at their first review, and 295 (53 percent) were denied. Among those denied for transplant, 150 (51 percent) were considered too early for liver transplant while the rest were excluded due to other medical conditions and psychosocial issues that affected their eligibility. Patients seeking referral for liver transplant often undergo repeated assessments by selection committees, as their eligibility can change over time or following treatment and/or changes in conditions that led to their initial exclusion.

Significance of the findings

According to Dr. Aranda-Michel, the data from the Mayo study suggest that even though the current donor organ allocation system favors the most critically-ill patients, a broad range of patients could benefit from early referral for liver transplant evaluation.

Our study suggests that early referral for liver transplant evaluation is offers other advantages unrelated to the time patients spend on the liver transplant waiting list. If patients too early for liver transplant were evaluated but not listed, a liver transplant center could initiate management of end-stage liver disease and address psychosocial issues in a subgroup of patients who could also ultimately benefit from liver transplant. Early referral could also lead to the earlier detection and treatment of liver cancer tumors called hepatocellular carcinomas that accompany some forms of chronic liver disease. If these tumors become too large, they
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Contact: John Murphy
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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