Child-Turcotte-Pugh versus MELD score as a predictor of outcome after elective and emergent surgery in cirrhotic patients

Am J Surg. 2004 Nov;188(5):580-3. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2004.07.034.


Background: Cirrhotic patients who present for elective and emergent surgery pose a formidable challenge for the surgeon because of the high reported morbidity and mortality. The Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) score previously has been used to evaluate preoperative severity of liver dysfunction and to predict postoperative outcome. Recently, a more objective scoring classification, the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD), has been shown to predict accurately the 3-month mortality for cirrhotic patients awaiting transplantation. We sought to compare the CTP and MELD scores in predicting outcomes in cirrhotic patients undergoing surgical procedures requiring general anesthesia.

Methods: During the study period, 40 patients with a history of cirrhosis who required elective (E) or emergent (EM) surgical procedures under general anesthesia were reviewed (E = 24, EM = 16). The preoperative CTP and MELD scores were calculated and patient short- (30-day) and long-term (3-month) outcomes were recorded.

Results: There was a significant difference in the 1-month and 3-month mortality rates between the emergent and elective groups (EM group: 1 mo = 19%, 3 mo = 44%; E group: 1 mo = 17%, 3 mo = 21%, P <0.05). There was good correlation between the CP and MELD scores, which was greater in the emergent groups as compared with the elective group (EM: r = 0.81; E: r = 0.65).

Conclusions: Our study shows that cirrhotic patients who undergo surgery under general anesthesia have an extremely high 1- and 3-month mortality rate that progressively increases with severity of preoperative liver dysfunction. Additionally, the MELD score correlates well with the CTP score, providing a more objective predictor of postoperative mortality in cirrhotic patients undergoing surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Elective Surgical Procedures*
  • Emergency Treatment*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / mortality
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / surgery
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome