MELD exceptions for portopulmonary hypertension: Current policy and future implementation

D. S. Goldberg, S. Batra, S. Sahay, S. M. Kawut, M. B. Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Since 2006, waitlist candidates with portopulmonary hypertension (POPH) have been eligible for standardized Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) exception points. However, there are no data evaluating the current POPH exception policy and its implementation. We used Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) data to compare outcomes of patients with approved POPH MELD exceptions from 2006 to 2012 to all nonexception waitlist candidates during this period. Since 2006, 155 waitlist candidates had approved POPH MELD exceptions, with only 73 (47.1%) meeting the formal OPTN exception criteria. Furthermore, over one-third of those with approved POPH exceptions either did not fulfill hemodynamic criteria consistent with POPH or had missing data, with 80% of such patients receiving a transplant based on receiving exception points. In multivariable multistate survival models, waitlist candidates with POPH MELD exceptions had an increased risk of death compared to nonexception waitlist candidates, regardless of whether they did (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.46, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.73-3.52; n = 100) or did not (HR: 1.60, 95% CI: 1.04-2.47; n = 55) have hemodynamic criteria consistent with POPH. These data highlight the need for OPTN/UNOS to reconsider not only the policy for POPH MELD exceptions, but also the process by which such points are awarded. Since the implementation of a formalized MELD exception policy for portopulmonary hypertension, the majority of patients awarded such points have not met criteria for such exception points due to missing or incomplete data, highlighting the need to revise portopulmonary hypertension exception policies and the process by which such exceptions are awarded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2081-2087
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Clinical research
  • United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
  • editorial
  • organ allocation
  • organ procurement and allocation
  • personal viewpoint
  • practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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