The Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) was initially created to predict survival in patients with complications of portal hypertension undergoing elective placement of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts. The MELD which uses only objective variables was validated subsequently as an accurate predictor of survival among different populations of patients with advanced liver disease. The major use of the MELD score has been in allocation of organs for liver transplantation. However, the MELD score has also been shown to predict survival in patients with cirrhosis who have infections, variceal bleeding, as well as in patients with fulminant hepatic failure and alcoholic hepatitis. MELD may be used in selection of patients for surgery other than liver transplantation and in determining optimal treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who are not candidates for liver transplantation. Despite the many advantages of the MELD score, there are approximately 15%-20% of patients whose survival cannot be accurately predicted by the MELD score. It is possible that the addition of variables that are better determinants of liver and renal function may improve the predictive accuracy of the model. Efforts at further refinement and validation of the MELD score will continue.
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