, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 1794-1797
Date: 03 Dec 2008

Access to Liver Transplantation in the MELD Era: Role of Ethnicity and Insurance

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Factors contributing to inequitable access to liver transplantation include socioeconomic status, geographic location, and delayed referral. The aim of this study is to identify the factors associated with a high MELD at the time of listing. Using the UNOS database, we identified all adults listed from 2002 to 2006. Data collected included demographics, insurance payor (private and government, i.e., Medicaid and non-Medicaid), diagnosis, and MELD score categorized as low (<20) and high (≥20). The results obtained show that a high MELD was associated with age, ethnicity, and insurance (P < 0.001). By multivariate analysis, insurance (OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.13–1.30, P < 0.001) and ethnicity (OR = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.28–1.88, P < 0.001) were independently associated with high MELD. In conclusion, ethnic minorities and liver transplant candidates with Medicaid are more likely to have a high MELD score at initial listing. The above results suggest that the type of insurance and ethnicity are independently associated with a high MELD (i.e., sicker patients).