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Changes to distribution of livers for transplant proposed
Date:9/9/2011

Transplantation specialists have proposed changes to the allocation and distribution of organs used for liver transplants. The recommended policy modifications take into account the scarcity of available organs, ensuring rapid allocation and delivery of the organ to those most in need in order to reduce mortality for waitlisted patients. Details of the proposed model are available in the September issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

A number of diseases affect liver function, including hepatitis B and C, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and autoimmune liver disease. The severity of liver disease ranges from mild to more severe forms that are life-threatening. When the liver fails (end stage liver disease) and patient life is at risk for death, transplantation is the recommended option. However, the scarcity of donor organs is one of the greatest concerns for transplantation candidates and a challenge for clinicians who treat them. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) there are more than 16,000 Americans on the waiting list to receive a liver as of August 2011.

The current model in the U.S. defines allocation as the order of patients on a particular waiting list. Since 2002, the transplantation community has used the Model for Endstage Liver Disease (MELD) score and length of time on waiting list to rank patients for allocation of the available liver. Distribution is the determination of the area to which a donor liver will be offered, and uses a local, regional, national system to distribute available livers for transplant. The OPTN donation service area that is assigned to the organ procurement organization is the designated "local" region using this system.

In an examination of the allocation and distribution of livers for transplantation, the authors reviewed the system currently used to d
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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