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Experts recommend new system for distributing transplant livers

Category: Liver Diseases

Following liver panel testing, it may become apparent that an individual has a serious dysfunction in the organ. Infections like hepatitis may even cause a person to eventually need a liver transplant. In order to make the distribution of donor organs more fair, a team of researchers recently proposed a new system.

There are more people who need transplants than there are available organs. This means there needs to be a system for deciding how livers are made available. Currently, the condition of each patient is ranked on a system known as the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD). This score is then factored into the length of time the patient has been waiting.

However, researchers from the University of Texas proposed only using the MELD score. This would help make transplants available to those who need them the most, as some people who have been on the waiting list for an extended period of time may not necessarily have a severe condition.

"We suggest focusing on amendments to organ distribution that decrease waitlist deaths with the least amount of additional sharing of livers," said lead author Kenneth Washburn.

Most people who receive suspicious liver panel tests may never have to worry about a transplant, as their condition is unlikely to progress to that stage. But for those who do, the recommendations could have important implications.

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