A study published in Liver Transplantation examined a common tool used in everyday evaluations and its efficiency in predicting patients in need of additional support after a liver transplant.
The Braden Scale, which is used on all patients as a requirement for Medicare and Medicaid, evaluates a newly admitted patient’s needs for extra care in preventing pressure ulcers or bedsores by rating them on activity levels, mobility, nutrition and fragility. The scale was utilized by researchers, led by Vinay Sundaram, MD, to evaluate patients after a liver transplant to predict those with possible poor outcomes.
"With medical advances in recent decades, liver transplant patients are living longer than ever," Sundaram said. "So doctors are rightly turning their attention to improving quality of life. The problem is that we have no good way to measure how well these patients will do. Our findings provide a way to achieve that so that we can take preventive action."
The study reviewed the medical records of 341 liver transplant patients. After applying the measures of evaluation of the Braden Scale, researchers were able to identify which patients had the lowest scores in order to provide them with physical therapy.
"More than 15,000 people are now on the waiting list for liver transplants, and there simply are not enough donated organs to go around," said Andrew Klein, MD, MBA, director of the Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center. "Research like this helps us give every patient the best chance for a successful, long-term recovery."