From Child-Pugh to MELD score and beyond: Taking a walk down memory lane

Ann Hepatol. 2022 Jan-Feb;27(1):100535. doi: 10.1016/j.aohep.2021.100535. Epub 2021 Sep 22.


The Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) and the MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) scores were designed to predict the outcome of decompressive therapy for portal hypertension. They were prospectively validated to predict mortality risk in patients with a wide spectrum of liver disease etiology and severity. Unlike the CTP score, the MELD score was derived from prospectively gathered data. Its calculation was based on serum bilirubin, serum creatinine, international normalized ratio (INR) and etiology of liver disease. Instituting a continuous disease severity score that de-emphasizes waiting time resulted in better categorization of waiting patients and enhanced transparency. The US instituted the MELD system in 2002 and soon thereafter, MELD-based liver allocation was adopted throughout the world including Latin America. The most significant impact of MELD-based policies has been the reduction of waiting-list mortality. In the years after implementation of the MELD system, several options have been proposed to improve the MELD score's accuracy. Adding serum sodium (MELD-Na) increased the accuracy of the score in predicting waiting list mortality, thus completing the original MELD score as a prognostic model in liver allocation. On the 20th anniversary of the creation of MELD score we present a brief account of its development, its use to stratify patients on the waiting list for liver transplantation as well as its adoption as liver allocation system .

Keywords: End-stage liver disease; Liver transplantation; Organ allocation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • End Stage Liver Disease / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / standards*
  • Prognosis
  • ROC Curve
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Waiting Lists*