Background & Aims: In Italy, since August 2014, liver transplant (LT) candidates with model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) scores ≥30 receive national allocation priority. This multicenter cohort study aims to evaluate time on the waiting list, dropout rate, and graft survival before and after introducing the macro-area sharing policy. Methods: A total of 4,238 patients registered from 2010 to 2018 were enrolled and categorized into an ERA-1 Group (n = 2,013; before August 2014) and an ERA-2 Group (n = 2,225; during and after August 2014). A Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of receiving a LT or death between the two eras. The Fine-Gray model was used to estimate the HR for dropout from the waiting list and graft loss, considering death as a competing risk event. A Fine-Gray model was also used to estimate risk factors of graft loss. Results: Patients with MELD ≥30 had a lower median time on the waiting list (4 vs.12 days, p <0.001) and a higher probability of being transplanted (HR 2.27; 95% CI 1.78–2.90; p = 0.001) in ERA-2 compared to ERA-1. The subgroup analysis on 3,515 LTs confirmed ERA-2 (odds ratio 0.56; 95% CI 0.46–0.68; p = 0.001) as a protective factor for better graft survival rate. The protective variables for lower dropouts on the waiting list were: ERA-2, high-volume centers, no competition centers, male recipients, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The protective variables for graft loss were high-volume center and ERA-2, while MELD ≥30 remained related to a higher risk of graft loss. Conclusions: The national MELD ≥30 priority allocation was associated with improved patient outcomes, although MELD ≥30 was associated with a higher risk of graft loss. Transplant center volumes and competition among centers may have a role in recipient prioritization and outcomes. Clinical trial number: NCT04530240 Lay summary: Italy introduced a new policy in 2014 to give national allocation priority to patients with a model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score ≥30 (i.e. very sick patients). This policy has led to more liver transplants, fewer dropouts, and shorter waiting times for patients with MELD ≥30. However, a higher risk of graft loss still burdens these cases. Transplant center volumes and competition among centers may have a role in recipient prioritization and outcomes.

Impact of MELD 30-allocation policy on liver transplant outcomes in Italy

Ravaioli M.;Sessa M.;Fallani G.;Patrono D.;Odaldi F.;Germinario G.;Cescon M.;
2022

Abstract

Background & Aims: In Italy, since August 2014, liver transplant (LT) candidates with model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) scores ≥30 receive national allocation priority. This multicenter cohort study aims to evaluate time on the waiting list, dropout rate, and graft survival before and after introducing the macro-area sharing policy. Methods: A total of 4,238 patients registered from 2010 to 2018 were enrolled and categorized into an ERA-1 Group (n = 2,013; before August 2014) and an ERA-2 Group (n = 2,225; during and after August 2014). A Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of receiving a LT or death between the two eras. The Fine-Gray model was used to estimate the HR for dropout from the waiting list and graft loss, considering death as a competing risk event. A Fine-Gray model was also used to estimate risk factors of graft loss. Results: Patients with MELD ≥30 had a lower median time on the waiting list (4 vs.12 days, p <0.001) and a higher probability of being transplanted (HR 2.27; 95% CI 1.78–2.90; p = 0.001) in ERA-2 compared to ERA-1. The subgroup analysis on 3,515 LTs confirmed ERA-2 (odds ratio 0.56; 95% CI 0.46–0.68; p = 0.001) as a protective factor for better graft survival rate. The protective variables for lower dropouts on the waiting list were: ERA-2, high-volume centers, no competition centers, male recipients, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The protective variables for graft loss were high-volume center and ERA-2, while MELD ≥30 remained related to a higher risk of graft loss. Conclusions: The national MELD ≥30 priority allocation was associated with improved patient outcomes, although MELD ≥30 was associated with a higher risk of graft loss. Transplant center volumes and competition among centers may have a role in recipient prioritization and outcomes. Clinical trial number: NCT04530240 Lay summary: Italy introduced a new policy in 2014 to give national allocation priority to patients with a model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score ≥30 (i.e. very sick patients). This policy has led to more liver transplants, fewer dropouts, and shorter waiting times for patients with MELD ≥30. However, a higher risk of graft loss still burdens these cases. Transplant center volumes and competition among centers may have a role in recipient prioritization and outcomes.
JOURNAL OF HEPATOLOGY
Ravaioli M.; Lai Q.; Sessa M.; Ghinolfi D.; Fallani G.; Patrono D.; Di Sandro S.; Avolio A.; Odaldi F.; Bronzoni J.; Tandoi F.; De Carlis R.; Pascale M.M.; Mennini G.; Germinario G.; Rossi M.; Agnes S.; De Carlis L.; Cescon M.; Romagnoli R.; De Simone P.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/854057
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