Q:

What is the criteria in Missouri for receiving a liver transplant?

A:

Quick Answer

Human livers get distributed to Missouri patients through the United Network for Organ Sharing based on scores for the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease, according to Saint Louis University Hospital and Barnes Jewish Hospital. Patients with a MELD score of 40 receive transplants before anyone else.

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Full Answer

Health care professionals at some Missouri liver transplant hospitals transmit data to UNOS to find a match for liver transplants, notes Saint Louis University Hospital. The donation organization then puts patients on a waiting list based on severity of MELD scores. People with the highest priority on the list get livers first, provided the donor liver matches the person who needs the transplant.

People with a MELD status code of 6 are the least severely ill and do not need a liver transplant right away, whereas those with a maximum score of 40 need a liver transplant most urgently within the next three months, says Barnes Jewish Hospital. MELD scores take into account three factors, including bilirubin, INR and creatinine. Bilirubin measures how efficiently the liver excretes bile. INR stands for international normalized ratio, notes MedicineNet. INR measures the liver's ability to produce substances that help form blood clots. Creatinine levels help doctors ascertain kidney function, states Barnes Jewish Hospital.

Seven hospitals in Missouri have liver transplant programs. Kansas City contains three hospitals, and St. Louis has four such facilities. Two agencies, including Mid-America Transplant Services and the Midwest Transplant Network, help facilitate liver donation among medical systems, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.

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