The Role of the Model of End-Stage Liver Disease Score in Predicting Outcomes of Carotid Endarterectomy

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The Model of End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score has been traditionally utilized to prioritize for liver transplantation; however, recent literature has shown its value in predicting surgical outcomes for patients with hepatic dysfunction. The benefit of carotid endarterectomy in asymptomatic patients is dependent on low perioperative morbidity. Our objective was to use MELD score to predict outcomes in asymptomatic patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy.


Patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy were identified in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data sets from 2005 to 2012. The Model of End-Stage Liver Disease score was calculated using serum bilirubin, creatinine, and the international normalized ratio (INR). Patients were grouped into low (<9), moderate (9-14), and high (15+) MELD classifications. The effect of the MELD score on postoperative morbidity and mortality was assessed by multivariable logistic and gamma regressions and propensity matching.


There were 7966 patients with asymptomatic carotid endarterectomy identified. The majority 5556 (70%) had a low MELD score, 1952 (25%) had a moderate MELD score, and 458 (5%) had a high MELD score. High MELD score was independently predictive of postoperative death, increased length of stay, need for transfusion, pulmonary complications, and a statistical trend toward increased cardiac arrest/myocardial infarction. The Model of End-Stage Liver Disease score did not affect postoperative stroke, wound complications, or operative time.


High MELD score places asymptomatic patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy at a higher risk of adverse outcomes in the 30 days following surgery. This provides further empirical evidence for risk stratification when considering treatment for these patients. Outcomes of medical management or carotid stenting should be investigated in high-risk patients.

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