Hepatic dysfunction and survival after orthotopic heart transplantation: Application of the MELD scoring system for outcome prediction

Aalap Chokshi, Faisal H. Cheema, Kenneth J. Schaefle, Jeffrey Jiang, Elias Collado, Khurram Shahzad, Tuba Khawaja, Maryjane Farr, Hiroo Takayama, Yoshifumi Naka, Donna M. Mancini, P. Christian Schulze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Background: The prevalence of heart failure (HF) is rising and the only corrective treatment is cardiac transplantation. Advanced HF is associated with congestive hepatopathy and progressive functional and ultrastructural changes of the liver. We hypothesized that hepatic dysfunction is associated with impaired clinical outcome after heart transplantation. Methods: Data of 617 adult patients (75% men, mean age 53 ± 12 years, mean BMI 25 ± 4, mean ejection fraction 19 ± 9%) undergoing orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) were analyzed retrospectively. Deviation from institutional normal ranges was used to define abnormal liver function. Standard Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores were calculated and a modified MELD score with albumin replacing INR (modMELD) was created to eliminate the confounding effects of anti-coagulation. Results: Before OHT, AST, ALT and total bilirubin were elevated in 20%, 18% and 29% of the population, respectively. Total protein and albumin were decreased in 25% and 52% of the population, respectively. By 2 months post-transplantation, percentages of individuals with pathologic values decreased significantly, except for ALT, total protein and albumin, all of which took longer to normalize. Individuals with a higher pre-transplantation MELD or modMELD score had worse outcome 30 days post-transplant and reduced long-term survival over a 10-year follow-up. Conclusions: In this large, single-center retrospective study, we demonstrated the dynamics of liver dysfunction after cardiac transplantation and that elevated MELD scores indicating impaired liver function are associated with poor clinical outcome after OHT. Thus, pre-operative liver dysfunction has a significant impact on survival of patients after cardiac transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-600
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • MELD
  • heart failure
  • heart transplantation
  • liver dysfunction
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatic dysfunction and survival after orthotopic heart transplantation: Application of the MELD scoring system for outcome prediction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this