Mind MELD or Ignore It at Your Peril.
TL;DR: Focusing on more than 700 patients admitted to the intensive care unit within 48 hours of emergency general surgery at 1 of 2 academic medi- cal centers, Havens et al confirm that MELD scores can predict 90- day mortality and that decreases in MELD Scores after 48 hours following intensive care centre admission can also predict out- comes.
Abstract: Mind MELD or Ignore It at Your Peril Invited Commentary Invited Commentary Mind MELD or Ignore It at Your Peril Ali Zarrinpar, MD, PhD Chronic liver disease (CLD) and its attendant increased risk of operative mortality and morbidity give appropriate pause to many surgeons and patients prior to undertaking any opera- tion, especially an emer- gency. While the American College of Surgeons National Related article at jamasurgery.com Surgical Quality Improve- ment Project Surgical Risk Calculator 1 does not yet incorporate liver disease–specific measures, multiple previous studies have demonstrated the importance of prognostic factors such as Child-Turcotte-Pugh score, serum creatinine level, international normalized ratio, cardiopulmonary comorbidities, and American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status class. 2 Advances in the medical care of patients with CLD and improved outcomes in liver transplantation have made long-term survival in patients who would not otherwise be considered for major surgery quite possible. For these reasons, accurate prognostic models of survival in cirrhotic patients are useful to clinicians. One such prognostic model, the Mayo Clinic Model for End- Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, has performed well in a num- ber of settings. Despite being initially based on survival after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt in a highly se- lected group of patients with cirrhosis and without cardiopul- monary comorbidity or intrinsic renal disease, the MELD score provides a reliable estimate of short-term survival over a wide range of liver disease severity and etiology and has become the standard by which deceased donor liver grafts are allocated. 3 The MELD score has also been previously shown in a number of studies to allow for the prediction of postoperative outcomes. 4,5 In this issue of JAMA Surgery, Havens et al 6 add to that list by showing that the MELD score is closely associated with mor- ARTICLE INFORMATION Author Affiliation: Division of Liver and Pancreas Transplantation, Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. Corresponding Author: Ali Zarrinpar, MD, PhD, Division of Liver and Pancreas Transplantation, Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, 757 Westwood Plaza, Ste 8501, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Published Online: May 18, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.0839. Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported. REFERENCES 1. American College of Surgeons. Surgical Risk Calculator. http://riskcalculator.facs.org/. Accessed April 22, 2016. jamasurgery.com tality following intensive care unit admission among emer- gency general surgery patients with CLD. Focusing on more than 700 patients admitted to the intensive care unit within 48 hours of emergency general surgery at 1 of 2 academic medi- cal centers, they confirm that MELD scores can predict 90- day mortality and that decreases in MELD scores after 48 hours following intensive care unit admission can also predict out- comes. Notwithstanding standard caveats regarding retro- spective data analyses, their study goes far in confirming the utility of the MELD score and elevating it above other preop- erative prognostic factors such as age, organ failure, and ino- tropic support. Beyond sound statistical and clinical validity, the ideal model for prognostic purposes should use a few inexpensive, readily available, noninvasive, objective parameters. Further- more, it should be generalizable to a diverse group of patients, while maintaining the ability to discern gradations within a continuum of risk. The model should be able to assess the risk of death in independent groups of patients with liver disease of varying etiology and severity and also to incorporate sex, ethnic/racial, and geographical diversity. While it appears to satisfy these criteria, the question remains whether the MELD score, now entering its 16th year of service, should be revised, 7 augmented, or replaced with other measures of liver or global function. 8 Furthermore, armed with this reliable preoperative predictor of mortality, how should we use it? Are there ways to optimize some patients before surgery in a way that would improve out- comes and not just delay care? There are predictors of futility in liver transplantation that allow for patient optimization. 9 Prognostic models should compel us to prospectively test ways to improve the efficacy of care in general surgery patients as well. 2. Ziser A, Plevak DJ, Wiesner RH, Rakela J, Offord KP, Brown DL. Morbidity and mortality in cirrhotic patients undergoing anesthesia and surgery. Anesthesiology. 1999;90(1):42-53. End-Stage Liver Disease score with mortality in emergency general surgery patients [published online May 18, 2016]. JAMA Surg. doi:10.1001 /jamasurg.2016.0789. 3. Kamath PS, Wiesner RH, Malinchoc M, et al. A model to predict survival in patients with end-stage liver disease. Hepatology. 2001;33(2): 7. Leise MD, Kim WR, Kremers WK, Larson JJ, Benson JT, Therneau TM. A revised Model for End-Stage Liver Disease optimizes prediction of mortality among patients awaiting liver transplantation. Gastroenterology. 2011;140(7): 4. Teh SH, Nagorney DM, Stevens SR, et al. Risk factors for mortality after surgery in patients with cirrhosis. Gastroenterology. 2007;132(4):1261-1269. 5. Mayo Clinic. Post-operative mortality risk in patients with cirrhosis. http://www.mayoclinic.org /medical-professionals/model-end-stage-liver -disease/post-operative-mortality-risk-patients -cirrhosis. Accessed March 20, 2016. 6. Havens JM, Columbus AB, Olufajo OA, Askari R, Salim A, Christopher KB. Association of Model for 8. Mobley CM, Zarrinpar A. Portable device for the analysis of liver function: a boon to liver surgery and critical care. Expert Rev Med Devices. 2016;13(1):1-4. 9. Petrowsky H, Rana A, Kaldas FM, et al. Liver transplantation in highest acuity recipients: identifying factors to avoid futility. Ann Surg. 2014; (Reprinted) JAMA Surgery July 2016 Volume 151, Number 7 Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All rights reserved. Downloaded From: http://jamanetwork.com/ by a University of California - Los Angeles User on 12/20/2016