Clinical Focus

  • General Surgery
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Hepatobiliary

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Administrative Chief Resident, Stanford Surgery Residency (2003 - 2004)
  • Associate Program Director, Stanford Surgery Residency (2006 - 2011)
  • Associate Program Director, Stanford Multi-Organ Transplant Fellowship (2010 - Present)
  • Program Director, Stanford Surgery Residency (2011 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Member, Society of University Surgeons (2015 -)
  • Member, Pacific Coast Surgical Society (2012 -)
  • Poster of Distinction, American Transplant Congress (2010)
  • Member, San Francisco Surgical Society (2009-)
  • Fellow, American College of Surgeons (2009 -)
  • Member, Transplantation Society (2009 -)
  • Member, Association for Academic Surgery (2007-)
  • Member, American Society of Transplant Surgeons (2004-)
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Columbia Medical School (1999)
  • Harvard College Scholarship, Harvard (1988)
  • Thomas J. Watson Scholarship, IBM (1985-1989)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Chair, Curriculum Committee, American Society of Transplant Surgery (2016 - Present)
  • Board Member, National Kidney Registry (2011 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Fellowship:Univ of California San Francisco (2006) CA
  • Residency:Stanford University Medical Center (2004) CA
  • Medical Education:Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (1999) NY
  • Board Certification: General Surgery, American Board of Surgery (2006)
  • Fellowship, UC, San Francisco, Multi-organ Transplantation (2006)
  • MD, Columbia University, P&S, Medicine (1999)
  • PhD, Univ. of California, Berkeley, Molecular Biology (1995)
  • BA, Harvard University, Biochemistry (1989)

Community and International Work

  • International Medicine, Guatemala

    Partnering Organization(s)

    Remote Area Medical



    Ongoing Project


    Opportunities for Student Involvement


Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My goal is to extend the benefits of organ transplant to greater numbers of patients while maintaining Stanford's excellent outcomes. We have set up a protocol to treat morbidly obese patients, who normally would not qualify for kidney transplant, with bariatric surgery prior to kidney transplantation. We are also developing the "paired-organ exchange" program at Stanford to increase the chances that patients with willing but incompatible living donors can still receive a living donor kidney.

Clinical Trials

  • Combined Blood Stem Cell and Kidney Transplant of One Haplotype Match Living Donor Pairs. Recruiting

    The Stanford Medical Center Program in Multi-Organ Transplantation and the Division of Bone marrow Transplantation are enrolling patients into a research study to determine if donor stem cells given after a living related one Haplotype match kidney transplantation will change the immune system such that immunosuppressive drugs can be completely withdrawn.

    View full details

  • Inducing Graft Tolerance in HLA Haplotype Matched Related and 3 Ag Matched Unrelated Living Donor Kidney Transplantation Recruiting

    This research study is to determine if donor blood stem cells given after living, related, HLA antigen (Ag) haplotype match or living, unrelated, 3 HLA antigen matched (HLA-A, -B, and -DR) donor kidney transplantation will change the immune system such that immunosuppressive drugs can be completely withdrawn or reduced to minimal dose without kidney rejection.

    View full details

  • Comparative Renal Function of Young (18-45 Years) and Ageing (55 Years and Above) Kidney Donors Not Recruiting

    It is our purpose in this study to compare the kidney structure and function of older patients to that of young patients before and after removal of a single kidney for transplant donation and to examine the remaining kidney's ability to adapt and maintain function over time. More specifically, we aim to examine the effect of uninephrectomy on adaptive hyperfiltration in the remaining kidney. A secondary aim is to investigate whether subjects in the aging population undergo compensation to the same extent as younger subjects. We will also examine the compensatory rise in GFR (glomerular filtration rate) that follows uninephrectomy in both groups, and, again, compare the results in the aged versus young subjects. This will help in delineating the extent to which the aging population can be a potential source of living kidney donors for kidney transplantation. It is also our purpose with this study to refine the tests to be used in the donor evaluation process so as to accurately identify ideal candidates for safe kidney donation.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial. For more information, please contact Geraldine Derby, R.N., 650-723-5985.

    View full details

  • Emollient Therapy for Severe Acute Malnutrition Not Recruiting

    The investigators hypothesize that the absorption of topically applied EFA-containing emollient (SSO) into the skin and thence into the bloodstream in children with SAM will improve skin barrier function and accelerate weight gain and clinical rehabilitation beyond that possible through normal standard-of-care

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.

    View full details


2018-19 Courses


All Publications

  • Reducing the Burden of Fellowship Interviews-Reply. JAMA Melcher, M. L., Ashlagi, I., Wapnir, I. 2019; 321 (11): 1107

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2018.21596

    View details for PubMedID 30874752

  • Living Kidney Donation: Strategies to Increase the Donor Pool. The Surgical clinics of North America Lee, L., Pham, T. A., Melcher, M. L. 2019; 99 (1): 37–47


    End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is a significant health care burden. Although kidney transplantation is the optimal treatment modality, less than 25% of waiting list patients are transplanted because of organ shortage. Living kidney donation can lead to better recipient and graft survival and increase the number of donors. Not all ESRD patients have potential living donors, and not all living donors are a compatible match to recipients. Kidney paired exchanges allow incompatible pairs to identify compatible living donors for living donor kidney transplants for multiple recipients. Innovative modifications of kidney paired donation can increase the number of kidney transplants, with excellent outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.suc.2018.09.003

    View details for PubMedID 30471740

  • Pathologic Response to Pretransplant Locoregional Therapy is Predictive of Patient Outcome After Liver Transplantation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Analysis From the US Multicenter HCC Transplant Consortium. Annals of surgery DiNorcia, J., Florman, S. S., Haydel, B., Tabrizian, P., Ruiz, R. M., Klintmalm, G. B., Senguttuvan, S., Lee, D. D., Taner, C. B., Verna, E. C., Halazun, K. J., Hoteit, M., Levine, M. H., Chapman, W. C., Vachharajani, N., Aucejo, F., Nguyen, M. H., Melcher, M. L., Tevar, A. D., Humar, A., Mobley, C., Ghobrial, M., Nydam, T. L., Amundsen, B., Markmann, J. F., Berumen, J., Hemming, A. W., Langnas, A. N., Carney, C. A., Sudan, D. L., Hong, J. C., Kim, J., Zimmerman, M. A., Rana, A., Kueht, M. L., Jones, C. M., Fishbein, T. M., Markovic, D., Busuttil, R. W., Agopian, V. G. 2019


    MINI: In a large, multicenter study of patients undergoing liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma, complete pathologic response (cPR) to pretransplant locoregional therapy (LRT) portended significantly superior overall and recurrence-free survival. Multivariable predictors of cPR included age, sex, liver disease diagnosis, MELD, AFP, NLR, radiographic Milan status, and number of LRT treatments.The aim of the study was to determine the rate, predictors, and impact of complete pathologic response (cPR) to pretransplant locoregional therapy (LRT) in a large, multicenter cohort of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients undergoing liver transplantation (LT).LRT is used to mitigate waitlist dropout for patients with HCC awaiting LT. Degree of tumor necrosis found on explant has been associated with recurrence and overall survival, but has not been evaluated in a large, multicenter study.Comparisons were made among patients receiving pre-LT LRT with (n = 802) and without (n = 2637) cPR from the United States Multicenter HCC Transplant Consortium (UMHTC), and multivariable predictors of cPR were identified using logistic regression.Of 3439 patients, 802 (23%) had cPR on explant. Compared with patients without cPR, cPR patients were younger; had lower Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores, AFP levels, and neutrophil-lymphocyte ratios (NLR); were more likely to have tumors within Milan criteria and fewer LRT treatments; and had significantly lower 1-, 3-, and 5-year incidence of post-LT recurrence (1.3%, 3.5%, and 5.2% vs 6.2%, 13.5%, and 16.4%; P < 0.001) and superior overall survival (92%, 84%, and 75% vs 90%, 78%, and 68%; P < 0.001). Multivariable predictors of cPR included age, sex, liver disease diagnosis, MELD, AFP, NLR, radiographic Milan status, and number of LRT treatments (C-statistic 0.67).For LT recipients with HCC receiving pretransplant LRT, achieving cPR portends significantly lower posttransplant recurrence and superior survival. Factors predicting cPR are identified, which may help prioritize patients and guide LRT strategies to optimize posttransplant cancer outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003253

    View details for PubMedID 30870180

  • Microvascular Free Flaps as the Vascularized Foundation for Hepatic Tissue Engineering Than, P., Davis, C., Rustad, K., Mittermiller, P., Findlay, M., Liu, W., Whittam, A., Le, T., Khong, S., Ma, K., Melcher, M., Melcher, M., Gurtner, G. WILEY. 2019: 21
  • Liver Transplantation for HCV Non-Viremic Recipients with HCV Viremic Donors. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Kwong, A. J., Wall, A., Melcher, M., Wang, U., Ahmed, A., Subramanian, A., Kwo, P. Y. 2018


    In the context of organ shortage, the opioid epidemic, and effective direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for hepatitis C (HCV), more HCV-infected donor organs may be used for liver transplantation. Current data regarding outcomes after donor-derived HCV in previously non-viremic liver transplant recipients are limited. Clinical data for adult liver transplant recipients with donor-derived HCV infection from March 2017 to January 2018 at our institution were extracted from the medical record. Ten patients received livers from donors known to be infected with HCV based on positive nucleic acid testing (NAT). Seven had a prior diagnosis of HCV and were treated before liver transplantation. All recipients were non-viremic at the time of transplantation. All 10 recipients derived hepatitis C infection from their donor and achieved sustained virologic response at 12 weeks post-treatment (SVR-12) with DAA-based regimens, with a median time from transplant to treatment initiation of 43 days (IQR 20-59). There have been no instances of graft loss or death, with median follow-up of 380 days (IQR 263-434) post-transplant. Transplantation of HCV-viremic livers into non-viremic recipients results in acceptable short-term outcomes. Such strategies may be used to expand the donor pool and increase access to liver transplantation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.15162

    View details for PubMedID 30378723

  • Matching for Fellowship Interviews JAMA-JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION Melcher, M. L., Ashlagi, I., Wapnir, I. 2018; 320 (16): 1639–40
  • Pragmatic Surgical Risk Assessment Criteria in Critically Ill Patients Prior to Liver Transplantation. Bonham, C., Tulu, Z., Melcher, M., Kwo, P., Concepcion, W., Ahmed, A., Esquivel, C. WILEY. 2018: 849–50
  • Antiviral Therapy for Donor-Derived Hepatitis C Virus Infection after Solid Organ Transplantation. Kwong, A., Wall, A., Melcher, M., Wang, U., Ahmed, A., Khush, K., Subramanian, A., Tan, J., Kwo, P. WILEY. 2018: 464
  • Structured Reporting of Multiphasic CT for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Effect on Staging and Suitability for Transplant. AJR. American journal of roentgenology Poullos, P. D., Tseng, J. J., Melcher, M. L., Concepcion, W., Loening, A. M., Rosenberg, J., Willmann, J. K. 2018: 1–9


    The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether use of a standardized radiology report template would improve the ability of liver transplant surgeons to diagnose stage T2 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and determine patient suitability to undergo orthotopic liver transplant (OLT).In this retrospective study, a standardized template was devised, and its use was mandated for reporting of liver CT findings for patients with cirrhosis and HCC. Two surgeons analyzed 200 reports (100 before and 100 after template implementation) for descriptions of cirrhosis, portal hypertension, lesion enhancement characteristics, tumor thrombus, portal and superior mesenteric vein patency, and Organ Procurement Transplantation Network (OPTN) class. Ability to determine Milan criteria and surgeon satisfaction were also assessed. Data obtained before and after template implementation were statistically analyzed using the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test.Template implementation increased the percentage of reports documenting the presence or absence of portal hypertension (74% to 88% for surgeon 1 and 86% to 87% for surgeon 2; p = 0.042); lesion number (76% to 88% for surgeon 2 [no change for surgeon 1]; p = 0.038), size (95% to 96% for surgeon 1 and 82% to 93% for surgeon 2; p = 0.03), and enhancement (93% to 94% for surgeon 1 and 80% to 91% for surgeon 2; p = 0.049); presence of tumor thrombus (10% to 57% for surgeon 1 and 31% to 63% for surgeon 2; p < 0.001); and OPTN class (8% to 82% for surgeon 1 and 2% to 81% for surgeon 2; p < 0.001). The surgeons were significantly more able to determine the presence of T2 disease and qualification for exception points after implementation of the template (increasing from 80% to 94%; p = 0.025). Satisfaction with reports also improved (p < 0.0001).The reporting template improved determination of patient suitability to undergo transplant according to the Milan criteria.

    View details for DOI 10.2214/AJR.17.18725

    View details for PubMedID 29470153

  • Socioeconomic Status in Non-directed and Voucher-based Living Kidney Donation. European urology focus Nassiri, N., Baskin, A. S., Herbert, L. K., Connor, S., Pham, T., Melcher, M. L., Sinacore, J., Veale, J. L. 2018; 4 (2): 185–89


    BACKGROUND: Little has been reported about the socioeconomic status (SES) and demographics of non-directed (altruistic) and voucher-based donation.OBJECTIVE: To analyze common characteristics amongst altruistic donors in order to promote non-directed and voucher-based donation.DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Information regarding altruistic donations from 2008 to 2015 and voucher-based donors was obtained from the National Kidney Registry.OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: An SES index, created and validated by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), was created by geocoding the donor's zip code and linking it to seven publicly available SES variables found in the 2010 United States Census data.RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: In total, 267 non-directed and 3 voucher-based donations were identified. Non-directed donors were predominantly female (58%), with an average age of 45.6 yr (range, 21-72). The mean SES index score was 55.6 (SD=3.2), which corresponds to the 77th percentile of 1.5 million MediCare beneficiaries as reported by the AHRQ in 2008. Voucher-based donors were Caucasian males of high SES. The study was limited by the number of voucher-based donations.CONCLUSIONS: Non-directed and voucher-based donors are in the upper end of the economic spectrum. The voucher-based program has built within it the inherent capacity to remove disincentives to donation, which currently limit altruistic donation.PATIENT SUMMARY: We wanted to determine what types of people donated their kidneys altruistically, so that we could understand how to motivate more people to donate their kidneys. The voucher-based program was recently started and is a promising tool to motivate many people to donate kidneys by removing major disincentives to donation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.euf.2018.07.020

    View details for PubMedID 30122635

  • A Multicenter Prospective Comparison of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Milestones: Clinical Competency Committee vs. Resident Self-Assessment. Journal of surgical education Watson, R. S., Borgert, A. J., O Heron, C. T., Kallies, K. J., Sidwell, R. A., Mellinger, J. D., Joshi, A. R., Galante, J. M., Chambers, L. W., Morris, J. B., Josloff, R. K., Melcher, M. L., Fuhrman, G. M., Terhune, K. P., Chang, L., Ferguson, E. M., Auyang, E. D., Patel, K. R., Jarman, B. T. 2017; 74 (6): e8–e14


    OBJECTIVE: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires accredited residency programs to implement competency-based assessments of medical trainees based upon nationally established Milestones. Clinical competency committees (CCC) are required to prepare biannual reports using the Milestones and ensure reporting to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Previous research demonstrated a strong correlation between CCC and resident scores on the Milestones at 1 institution. We sought to evaluate a national sampling of general surgery residency programs and hypothesized that CCC and resident assessments are similar.DESIGN: Details regarding the makeup and process of each CCC were obtained. Major disparities were defined as an absolute mean difference of ≥0.5 on the 4-point scale. A negative assessment disparity indicated that the residents evaluated themselves at a lower level than did the CCC. Statistical analysis included Wilcoxon rank sum and Sign tests.SETTING: CCCs and categorical general surgery residents from 15 residency programs completed the Milestones document independently during the spring of 2016.RESULTS: Overall, 334 residents were included; 44 (13%) and 43 (13%) residents scored themselves ≥0.5 points higher and lower than the CCC, respectively. Female residents scored themselves a mean of 0.08 points lower, and male residents scored themselves a mean of 0.03 points higher than the CCC. Median assessment differences for postgraduate year (PGY) 1-5 were 0.03 (range: -0.94 to 1.28), -0.11 (range: -1.22 to 1.22), -0.08 (range: -1.28 to 0.81), 0.02 (range: -0.91 to 1.00), and -0.19 (range: -1.16 to 0.50), respectively. Residents in university vs. independent programs had higher rates of negative assessment differences in medical knowledge (15% vs. 6%; P = 0.015), patient care (17% vs. 5%; P = 0.002), professionalism (23% vs. 14%; P = 0.013), and system-based practice (18% vs. 9%; P = 0.031) competencies. Major assessment disparities by sex or PGY were similar among individual competencies.CONCLUSIONS: Surgery residents in this national cohort demonstrated self-awareness when compared to assessments by their respective CCCs. This was independent of program type, sex, or level of training. PGY 5 residents, female residents, and those from university programs consistently rated themselves lower than the CCC, but these were not major disparities and the significance of this is unclear.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jsurg.2017.06.009

    View details for PubMedID 28666959

  • Preparation for the Diversity of 21st Century Surgical Leadership Opportunities Demands Diverse Opportunities for "Professional Development". Annals of surgery Melcher, M. L., Greco, R. S., Krummel, T. M., Morris, A. M., Hawn, M. T. 2017

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002470

    View details for PubMedID 29064907

  • Recurrence-Free Survival in Liver Transplant Recipients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease-Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Results from the US Multicenter HCC Transplant Consortium Verna, E. C., Abdelmessih, R. M., Florman, S. S., Haydel, B. M., Ruiz, R., Klintmalm, G., Lee, D. D., Taner, B., Hoteit, M. A., Halazun, K. J., Tevar, A. D., Humar, A., Chapman, W. C., Vachharajani, N., Aucejo, F. N., Melcher, M. L., Nguyen, M. H., Nydam, T. L., Amundsen, B., Markmann, J. F., Mobley, C., Ghobrial, R. M., Langnas, A. N., Carney, C., Berumen, J., Hemming, A. W., Sudan, D., Hong, J. C., Kim, J., Zimmerman, M. A., Rana, A., Kueht, M. L., Jones, C., Fishbein, T., Busuttil, R. W., Agopian, V. WILEY. 2017: 900A–901A
  • Advanced Donation Programs and Deceased Donor Initiated Chains - 2 Innovations in Kidney Paired Donation. Transplantation Wall, A. E., Veale, J. L., Melcher, M. L. 2017


    Kidney paired donation strategies have facilitated compatible living-donor kidney transplants for end stage renal disease patients with willing but incompatible living donors. Success has inspired further innovations that expand opportunities for kidney-paired donation. Two such innovations are the advanced donation strategy in which a donor provides a kidney before their recipient is matched, or even in need of, a kidney transplant, and deceased donor initiated chains in which chains are started with deceased donors rather than altruistic living donors. While these innovations may expand kidney paired donation, they raise several ethical issues. Specific concerns raised by advanced donation include the management of uncertainty, the extent of donor and recipient consent, the scope of the obligation that the organization has to the kidney exchange paired recipient, the naming of alternative recipients, and the potential to unfairly advantage the recipient. Use of deceased donors for chain initiating kidneys raises ethical issues concerning the consent process for each involved party, the prioritization of deceased donor kidneys, the allocation of chain ending kidneys, and the value of a living donor kidney versus a deceased donor kidney. We outline each ethical issue and discuss how it can be conceptualized and managed so that these kidney paired donation innovations programs are ultimately successful.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/TP.0000000000001838

    View details for PubMedID 28574902

  • A multi-institution analysis of general surgery resident peer-reviewed publication trends JOURNAL OF SURGICAL RESEARCH Forrester, J. D., Ansari, P., Are, C., Auyang, E., Galante, J. M., Jarman, B. T., Smith, B. R., Watkins, A. C., Melcher, M. L. 2017; 210: 92-98


    The process of taking a research project from conception to publication is one way to encourage surgeons to communicate hypothesis, critically assess literature and data, and defend research conclusions to a broad audience. The goal of this study was to define surgery resident publishing epidemiology and identify characteristics of residents and residency programs that might predict increased publication productivity.A survey was administered to eight general surgery residency programs to collect residency and resident variables from 1993-2013. The primary endpoint was the number of first-author publications produced per resident. Secondary endpoints included clinical setting at which the former resident was practicing, fellowship pursued, and manuscript quality.Between 1993 and 2013, 676 residents graduated, median age was 33 years (range: 29-43 years) and 182 (27%) were female. Three hundred and sixty-six (54%) residents produced 1229 first-author publications. Of these, 112 (31%) residents produced one manuscript, 125 (34%) produced two-three manuscripts, 107 (29%) produced four-nine manuscripts, and 22 (6%) produced 10 or more manuscripts. Publishing ≥1 manuscript in residency was associated with a 1.5 (P = 0.01) increased odds of having attended a top-tier research institution for medical school and a 2.3 (P < 0.001) increased odds of having dedicated research years incorporated into residency. Surgeons practicing at academic centers had 1.7 (P = 0.003) greater odds of having attended top-tier medical schools, and 1.5 (P = 0.02) greater odds of publishing during residency.Additional research directed at identifying interventions promoting resident publishing and scholastic achievement should benefit all surgery training programs looking to cultivate the next generation of critically thinking surgeons.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jss.2016.11.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000401125000011

    View details for PubMedID 28457346

  • Impact of Pretransplant Bridging Locoregional Therapy for Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma Within Milan Criteria Undergoing Liver Transplantation: Analysis of 3601 Patients from the US Multicenter HCC Transplant Consortium. Annals of surgery Agopian, V. G., Harlander-Locke, M. P., Ruiz, R. M., Klintmalm, G. B., Senguttuvan, S., Florman, S. S., Haydel, B., Hoteit, M., Levine, M. H., Lee, D. D., Taner, C. B., Verna, E. C., Halazun, K. J., Abdelmessih, R., Tevar, A. D., Humar, A., Aucejo, F., Chapman, W. C., Vachharajani, N., Nguyen, M. H., Melcher, M. L., Nydam, T. L., Mobley, C., Ghobrial, R. M., Amundsen, B., Markmann, J. F., Langnas, A. N., Carney, C. A., Berumen, J., Hemming, A. W., Sudan, D. L., Hong, J. C., Kim, J., Zimmerman, M. A., Rana, A., Kueht, M. L., Jones, C. M., Fishbein, T. M., Busuttil, R. W. 2017


    To evaluate the effect of pretransplant bridging locoregional therapy (LRT) on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence and survival after liver transplantation (LT) in patients meeting Milan criteria (MC).Pre-LT LRT mitigates tumor progression and waitlist dropout in HCC patients within MC, but data on its impact on post-LT recurrence and survival remain limited.Recurrence-free survival and post-LT recurrence were compared among 3601 MC patients with and without bridging LRT utilizing competing risk Cox regression in consecutive patients from 20 US centers (2002-2013).Compared with 747 LT recipients not receiving LRT, 2854 receiving LRT had similar 1, 3, and 5-year recurrence-free survival (89%, 77%, 68% vs 85%, 75%, 68%; P = 0.490) and 5-year post-LT recurrence (11.2% vs 10.1%; P = 0.474). Increasing LRT number [3 LRTs: hazard ratio (HR) 2.1, P < 0.001; 4+ LRTs: HR 2.5, P < 0.001), and unfavorable waitlist alphafetorotein trend significantly predicted post-LT recurrence, whereas LRT modality did not. Treated patients achieving complete pathologic response (cPR) had superior 5-year RFS (72%) and lower post-LT recurrence (HR 0.52, P < 0.001) compared with both untreated patients (69%; P = 0.010; HR 1.0) and treated patients not achieving cPR (67%; P = 0.010; HR 1.31, P = 0.039), who demonstrated increased recurrence compared with untreated patients in multivariate analysis controlling for pretransplant and pathologic factors (HR 1.32, P = 0.044).Bridging LRT in HCC patients within MC does not improve post-LT survival or HCC recurrence in the majority of patients who fail to achieve cPR. The need for increasing LRT treatments and lack of alphafetoprotein response to LRT independently predict post-LT recurrence, serving as a surrogate for underlying tumor biology which can be utilized for prioritization of HCC LT candidates.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002381

    View details for PubMedID 28654545

  • Pilot evaluation of the Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics test. The Journal of surgical research Shipper, E. S., Mazer, L. M., Merrell, S. B., Lin, D. T., Lau, J. N., Melcher, M. L. 2017; 215: 211–18


    High attrition rates hint at deficiencies in the resident selection process. The evaluation of personal characteristics representative of success is difficult. Here, we evaluate a novel tool for assessing personal characteristics.To evaluate feasibility, we used an anonymous voluntary survey questionnaire offered to study participants before and after contact with the CASPer test. To evaluate the CASPer test as a predictor of success, we compared CASPer test assessments of personal characteristics versus traditional faculty assessment of personal characteristics with applicant rank list position.All applicants (n = 77) attending an in-person interview for general surgery residency, and all faculty interviewers (n = 34) who reviewed these applications were invited to participate. Among applicants, 84.4% of respondents (65 of 77) reported that a requirement to complete the CASPer test would have no bearing or would make them more likely to apply to the program (mean = 3.30, standard deviation = 0.96). Among the faculty, 62.5% respondents (10 of 16) reported that the same condition would have no bearing or would make applicants more likely to apply to the program (mean = 3.19, standard deviation = 1.33). The Spearman's rank-order correlation coefficients for the relationships between traditional faculty assessment of personal characteristics and applicant rank list position, and novel CASPer assessment of personal characteristics and applicant rank list position, were -0.45 (P = 0.033) and -0.41 (P = 0.055), respectively.The CASPer test may be feasibly implemented as component of the resident selection process, with the potential to predict applicant rank list position and improve the general surgery resident selection process.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jss.2017.03.054

    View details for PubMedID 28688650

  • Association of General Surgery Resident Remediation and Program Director Attitudes With Resident Attrition. JAMA surgery Schwed, A. C., Lee, S. L., Salcedo, E. S., Reeves, M. E., Inaba, K., Sidwell, R. A., Amersi, F., Are, C., Arnell, T. D., Damewood, R. B., Dent, D. L., Donahue, T., Gauvin, J., Hartranft, T., Jacobsen, G. R., Jarman, B. T., Melcher, M. L., Mellinger, J. D., Morris, J. B., Nehler, M., Smith, B. R., Wolfe, M., Kaji, A. H., de Virgilio, C. 2017


    Previous studies of resident attrition have variably included preliminary residents and likely overestimated categorical resident attrition. Whether program director attitudes affect attrition has been unclear.To determine whether program director attitudes are associated with resident attrition and to measure the categorical resident attrition rate.This multicenter study surveyed 21 US program directors in general surgery about their opinions regarding resident education and attrition. Data on total resident complement, demographic information, and annual attrition were collected from the program directors for the study period of July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2015. The general surgery programs were chosen on the basis of their geographic location, previous collaboration with some coauthors, prior work in surgical education and research, or a program director willing to participate. Only categorical surgical residents were included in the study; thus, program directors were specifically instructed to exclude any preliminary residents in their responses.Five-year attrition rates (2010-2011 to 2014-2015 academic years) as well as first-time pass rates on the General Surgery Qualifying Examination and General Surgery Certifying Examination of the American Board of Surgery (ABS) were collected. High- and low-attrition programs were compared.The 21 programs represented different geographic locations and 12 university-based, 3 university-affiliated, and 6 independent program types. Programs had a median (interquartile range [IQR]) number of 30 (20-48) categorical residents, and few of those residents were women (median [IQR], 12 [5-17]). Overall, 85 of 966 residents (8.8%) left training during the study period: 15 (17.6%) left after postgraduate year 1, 34 (40.0%) after postgraduate year 2, and 36 (42.4%) after postgraduate year 3 or later. Forty-four residents (51.8%) left general surgery for another surgical discipline, 21 (24.7%) transferred to a different surgery program, and 18 (21.2%) exited graduate medical education altogether. Each program had an annual attrition rate ranging from 0.73% to 6.0% (median [IQR], 2.5% [1.5%-3.4%]). Low-attrition programs were more likely than high-attrition programs to use resident remediation (21.0% vs 6.8%; P < .001). Median (IQR) Qualifying Examination pass rates (93% [90%-98%] vs 92% [86%-100%]; P = .92) and Certifying Examination pass rates (83% [68%-84%] vs 81% [71%-86%]; P = .47) were similar. Program directors at high-attrition programs were more likely than their counterparts at low-attrition programs to agree with this statement: "I feel that it is my responsibility as a program director to redirect residents who should not be surgeons."The overall 5-year attrition rate of 8.8% was significantly lower than previously reported. Program directors at low-attrition programs were more likely to use resident remediation. Variations in attrition may be explained by program director attitudes, although larger studies are needed to further define program factors affecting attrition.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2017.2656

    View details for PubMedID 28813585

  • Hospital readmissions following HLA-incompatible live donor kidney transplantation: A multi-center study. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Orandi, B. J., Luo, X., King, E. A., Garonzik-Wang, J. M., Bae, S., Montgomery, R. A., Stegall, M. D., Jordan, S. C., Oberholzer, J., Dunn, T. B., Ratner, L. E., Kapur, S., Pelletier, R. P., Roberts, J. P., Melcher, M. L., Singh, P., Sudan, D. L., Posner, M. P., El-Amm, J. M., Shapiro, R., Cooper, M., Lipkowitz, G. S., Rees, M. A., Marsh, C. L., Sankari, B. R., Gerber, D. A., Nelson, P. W., Wellen, J., Bozorgzadeh, A., Osama Gaber, A., Segev, D. L. 2017


    Thirty percent of kidney transplant recipients are readmitted in the first month posttransplantation. Those with donor-specific antibody requiring desensitization and incompatible live donor kidney transplantation (ILDKT) constitute a unique subpopulation that might be at higher readmission risk. Drawing on a 22-center cohort, 379 ILDKTs with Medicare primary insurance were matched to compatible transplant-matched controls and to waitlist-only matched controls on panel reactive antibody, age, blood group, renal replacement time, prior kidney transplantation, race, gender, diabetes, and transplant date/waitlisting date. Readmission risk was determined using multilevel, mixed-effects Poisson regression. In the first month, ILDKTs had a 1.28-fold higher readmission risk than compatible controls (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-1.46; P < .001). Risk peaked at 6-12 months (relative risk [RR] 1.67, 95% CI 1.49-1.87; P < .001), attenuating by 24-36 months (RR 1.24, 95% CI 1.10-1.40; P < .001). ILDKTs had a 5.86-fold higher readmission risk (95% CI 4.96-6.92; P < .001) in the first month compared to waitlist-only controls. At 12-24 (RR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77-0.95; P = .002) and 24-36 months (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.66-0.84; P < .001), ILDKTs had a lower risk than waitlist-only controls. These findings of ILDKTs having a higher readmission risk than compatible controls, but a lower readmission risk after the first year than waitlist-only controls should be considered in regulatory/payment schemas and planning clinical care.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.14472

    View details for PubMedID 28834181

  • Effect of match-run frequencies on the number of transplants and waiting times in kidney exchange. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Ashlagi, I., Bingaman, A., Burq, M., Manshadi, V., Gamarnik, D., Murphey, C., Roth, A. E., Melcher, M. L., Rees, M. A. 2017


    Numerous kidney exchange (kidney paired donation [KPD]) registries in the United States have gradually shifted to high-frequency match-runs, raising the question of whether this harms the number of transplants. We conducted simulations using clinical data from 2 KPD registries-the Alliance for Paired Donation, which runs multihospital exchanges, and Methodist San Antonio, which runs single-center exchanges-to study how the frequency of match-runs impacts the number of transplants and the average waiting times. We simulate the options facing each of the 2 registries by repeated resampling from their historical pools of patient-donor pairs and nondirected donors, with arrival and departure rates corresponding to the historical data. We find that longer intervals between match-runs do not increase the total number of transplants, and that prioritizing highly sensitized patients is more effective than waiting longer between match-runs for transplanting highly sensitized patients. While we do not find that frequent match-runs result in fewer transplanted pairs, we do find that increasing arrival rates of new pairs improves both the fraction of transplanted pairs and waiting times.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.14566

    View details for PubMedID 29087017

  • Shipping Living Donor Kidneys and Transplant Recipient Outcomes. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Treat, E., Chow, E. K., Peipert, J. D., Waterman, A., Kwan, L., Massie, A. B., Thomas, A. G., Bowring, M. G., Leeser, D., Flechner, S., Melcher, M. L., Kapur, S., Segev, D. L., Veale, J. 2017


    Kidney paired donation (KPD) is an important tool to facilitate living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT). Concerns remain over prolonged cold ischemia times (CIT) associated with shipping kidneys long distances through KPD. We examined the association between CIT and delayed graft function (DGF), allograft survival, and patient survival for 1,267 shipped and 205 non-shipped/internal KPD LDKTs facilitated by the National Kidney Registry in the United States from 2008-2015, compared to 4,800 unrelated, non-shipped, non-KPD LDKTs. Shipped KPD recipients had a median CIT of 9.3 hours (range = 0.25 to 23.9 hours), compared to 1.0 hour for internal KPD transplants and 0.93 hours for non-KPD LDKTs. Each hour of CIT was associated with a 5% increased odds of DGF (adjusted odds ratio: 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02-1.09, p<0.01). However, there was not a significant association between CIT and all-cause graft failure (aHR: 1.01, 95% CI: 0.98-1.04, p=0.4), death-censored graft failure (aHR: 1.02, 95% CI: 0.98-1.06, p=0.4), or mortality (aHR 1.00, 95% CI: 0.96-1.04, p>0.9). This study of KPD-facilitated LDKTs found no evidence that long CIT is a concern for reduced graft or patient survival. Studies with longer follow-up are needed to refine our understanding of the safety of shipping donor kidneys through KPD. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.14597

    View details for PubMedID 29165871

  • Kidney paired exchange and desensitization: Strategies to transplant the difficult to match kidney patients with living donors TRANSPLANTATION REVIEWS Pham, T. A., Lee, J. I., Melcher, M. L. 2017; 31 (1): 29-34


    With organs in short supply, only a limited number of kidney transplants can be performed a year. Live donor donation accounts for 1/3rd of all kidney transplants performed in the United States. Unfortunately, not every donor recipient pair is feasible because of Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) sensitization and ABO incompatibility. To overcome these barriers to transplant, strategies such as kidney paired donation (KPD) and desensitization have been developed. KPD is the exchange of donors between at least two incompatible donor-recipient pairs such that they are now compatible. Desensitization is the removal of circulating donor specific antibodies to prevent graft rejection. Regardless of the treatment strategy, highly sensitized patients whose calculated panel reactive antibody (cPRA) is ≥95% remain difficult to transplant with match rates as low as 15% in KPD pools. Desensitization has proved to be difficult in those with high antibody titers. A novel approach is the combination of both KPD and desensitization to facilitate compatible and successful transplantation. A highly sensitized patient can be paired with a better immunological match in the KPD pool and subsequently desensitized to a lesser degree. This article reviews the current progress in KPD and desensitization and their use as a combined therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.trre.2017.01.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000396960100004

    View details for PubMedID 28284304

  • The incremental cost of Incompatible Living Donor Kidney Transplant: A National Cohort Analysis. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Axelrod, D., Lentine, K. L., Schnitzler, M. A., Luo, X., Xiao, H., Orandi, B. J., Massie, A., Garonzik-Wang, J., Stegall, M. D., Jordan, S. C., Oberholzer, J., Dunn, T. B., Ratner, L. E., Kapur, S., Pelletier, R. P., Roberts, J. P., Melcher, M. L., Singh, P., Sudan, D. L., Posner, M. P., El-Amm, J. M., Shapiro, R., Cooper, M., Lipkowitz, G. S., Rees, M. A., Marsh, C. L., Sankari, B. R., Gerber, D. A., Nelson, P. W., Wellen, J., Bozorgzadeh, A., Gaber, A. O., Montgomery, R. A., Segev, D. L. 2017


    Incompatible living donor kidney transplant (ILDKT) has been established as an effective option for end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients with willing but HLA incompatible live donors, reducing mortality and improving quality of life. Depending upon antibody titer, ILDKT can require highly resource intensive procedure including intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange and/or cell depleting antibody treatment as well as protocol biopsies and DSA testing. This study sought to compare the cost and Medicare reimbursement, exclusive of organ acquisition payment, for ILDKT recipients (N=926) with varying antibody titers to matched compatible transplants (N=2762) performed between 2002-2011. Data were assembled from a national cohort study of ILDKT and a unique dataset linking hospital cost accounting data, and Medicare claims. Overall, ILDKT transplants were 41% more expensive than their compatible counterparts ($151,024 vs. $106,636, p<.0001). The incremental cost varied by antibody titers: positive on Luminex assay but negative flow cytometric crossmatch 20% increase, positive flow cytometric crossmatch but negative cytotoxic crossmatch 26% increase, and positive cytotoxic crossmatch 39% increase (p<.0001 for all). ILDKT was associated with higher Medicare payments ($91,330 vs. $63,782 p<.0001), longer median length of stay (12.9 vs. 7.8 days), and greater outlier payments. In conclusion, ILDKT increases the cost of and payments for kidney transplant. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.14392

    View details for PubMedID 28613436

  • HLA Matching Trumps Donor Age: Donor-Recipient Pairing Characteristics That Impact Long-Term Success in Living Donor Kidney Transplantation in the Era of Paired Kidney Exchange. Transplantation direct Milner, J., Melcher, M. L., Lee, B., Veale, J., Ronin, M., D'Alessandro, T., Hil, G., Fry, P. C., Shannon, P. W. 2016; 2 (7)


    We sought to identify donor characteristics influencing long-term graft survival, expressed by a novel measure, kidney life years (KLYs), in living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT).Cox and multiple regression analyses were applied to data from the Scientific Registry for Transplant Research from 1987 to 2015. Dependent variable was KLYs.Living donor kidney transplantation (129 273) were performed from 1987 to 2013 in the United States. To allow sufficient time to assess long-term results, outcomes of LDKTs between 1987 and 2001 were analyzed. After excluding cases where a patient died with a functioning graft (8301) or those missing HLA data (9), 40 371 cases were analyzed. Of 18 independent variables, the focus became the 4 variables that were the most statistically and clinically significant in that they are potentially modifiable in donor selection (P <0.0001; ie, HLA match points, donor sex, donor biological sibling and donor age). HLA match points had the strongest relationship with KLYs, was associated with the greatest tendency toward graft longevity on Cox regression, and had the largest increase in KLYs (2.0 year increase per 50 antigen Match Points) based on multiple regression.In cases when a patient has multiple potential donors, such as through paired exchange, graft life might be extended when a donor with favorable matching characteristics is selected.

    View details for PubMedID 27830179

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5087568

  • NEAD Chains Do Not Disadvantage Blood Type O, Black, or Highly Sensitized Patients Rees, M., Roberts, J., Lentine, K., Roth, A., Leichtman, A., Xiao, H., Rafizadeh, S., Neidich, E., Melcher, M. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2016: 440
  • Utilization of Deceased Donor Kidneys to Initiate Living Donor Chains AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Melcher, M. L., Roberts, J. P., Leichtman, A. B., Roth, A. E., Rees, M. A. 2016; 16 (5): 1367-1370


    We propose that some deceased donor (DD) kidneys be allocated to initiate nonsimultaneous extended altruistic donor chains of living donor (LD) kidney transplants to address, in part, the huge disparity between patients on the DD kidney waitlist and available donors. The use of DD kidneys for this purpose would benefit waitlisted candidates in that most patients enrolled in kidney paired donation (KPD) systems are also waitlisted for a DD kidney transplant, and receiving a kidney through the mechanism of KPD will decrease pressure on the DD pool. In addition, a LD kidney usually provides survival potential equal or superior to that of DD kidneys. If KPD chains that are initiated by a DD can end in a donation of an LD kidney to a candidate on the DD waitlist, the quality of the kidney allocated to a waitlisted patient is likely to be improved. We hypothesize that a pilot program would show a positive impact on patients of all ethnicities and blood types.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.13740

    View details for Web of Science ID 000375114300010

    View details for PubMedID 26833680

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4844828

  • Prehabilitation in our most frail surgical patients: are wearable fitness devices the next frontier? Current opinion in organ transplantation Rumer, K. K., Saraswathula, A., Melcher, M. L. 2016; 21 (2): 188-193


    Frailty is the concept of accumulating physiologic declines that make people less able to deal with stressors, including surgery. Prehabilitation is intervention to enhance functional capacity before surgery. Frailty and prehabilitation among transplant populations and the role of wearable fitness tracking devices (WFTs) in delivering fitness-based interventions will be discussed.Frailty is associated with increased complications, longer length of hospital stay and increased mortality after surgery. Frail kidney transplant patients have increased delayed graft function, mortality and early hospital readmission. Frail lung or liver transplant patients are more likely to delist or die on the waitlist. Prehabilitation can mitigate frailty and has resulted in decreased length of hospital stay and fewer postsurgical complications among a variety of surgical populations. Increasingly, WFTs are used to monitor patient activity and improve patient health. Interventions using WFTs have resulted in improved activity, weight loss and blood pressure.Frailty is a measurable parameter that identifies patients at risk for worse health outcomes and can be mitigated through intervention. Prehabilitation to reduce frailty has been shown to improve postsurgical outcomes in a variety of populations. WFTs are being integrated in healthcare delivery for monitoring and changing health behavior with promising results.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000295

    View details for PubMedID 26859220

  • Survival Benefit with Kidney Transplants from HLA-Incompatible Live Donors NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE Orandi, B. J., Luo, X., Massie, A. B., Garonzik-Wang, J. M., Lonze, B. E., Ahmed, R., Van Arendonk, K. J., Stegall, M. D., Jordan, S. C., Oberholzer, J., Dunn, T. B., Ratner, L. E., Kapur, S., Pelletier, R. P., Roberts, J. P., Melcher, M. L., Singh, P., Sudan, D. L., Posner, M. P., El-Amm, J. M., Shapiro, R., Cooper, M., Lipkowitz, G. S., Rees, M. A., Marsh, C. L., Sankari, B. R., Gerber, D. A., Nelson, P. W., Wellen, J., Bozorgzadeh, A., Gaber, A. O., Montgomery, R. A., Segev, D. L. 2016; 374 (10): 940-950


    A report from a high-volume single center indicated a survival benefit of receiving a kidney transplant from an HLA-incompatible live donor as compared with remaining on the waiting list, whether or not a kidney from a deceased donor was received. The generalizability of that finding is unclear.In a 22-center study, we estimated the survival benefit for 1025 recipients of kidney transplants from HLA-incompatible live donors who were matched with controls who remained on the waiting list or received a transplant from a deceased donor (waiting-list-or-transplant control group) and controls who remained on the waiting list but did not receive a transplant (waiting-list-only control group). We analyzed the data with and without patients from the highest-volume center in the study.Recipients of kidney transplants from incompatible live donors had a higher survival rate than either control group at 1 year (95.0%, vs. 94.0% for the waiting-list-or-transplant control group and 89.6% for the waiting-list-only control group), 3 years (91.7% vs. 83.6% and 72.7%, respectively), 5 years (86.0% vs. 74.4% and 59.2%), and 8 years (76.5% vs. 62.9% and 43.9%) (P<0.001 for all comparisons with the two control groups). The survival benefit was significant at 8 years across all levels of donor-specific antibody: 89.2% for recipients of kidney transplants from incompatible live donors who had a positive Luminex assay for anti-HLA antibody but a negative flow-cytometric cross-match versus 65.0% for the waiting-list-or-transplant control group and 47.1% for the waiting-list-only control group; 76.3% for recipients with a positive flow-cytometric cross-match but a negative cytotoxic cross-match versus 63.3% and 43.0% in the two control groups, respectively; and 71.0% for recipients with a positive cytotoxic cross-match versus 61.5% and 43.7%, respectively. The findings did not change when patients from the highest-volume center were excluded.This multicenter study validated single-center evidence that patients who received kidney transplants from HLA-incompatible live donors had a substantial survival benefit as compared with patients who did not undergo transplantation and those who waited for transplants from deceased donors. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.).

    View details for DOI 10.1056/NEJMoa1508380

    View details for Web of Science ID 000371660000007

    View details for PubMedID 26962729

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4841939

  • We Need to Take the Next Step. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Melcher, M. L., Roberts, J. P., Leichtman, A. B., Roth, A. E., Rees, M. A. 2016

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.14008

    View details for PubMedID 27515865

  • Saving Supersick Patients Undergoing Liver Transplant. JAMA surgery Melcher, M. L. 2015; 150 (11): 1073-?

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2015.1881

    View details for PubMedID 26309213

  • Program Factors That Influence American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination Performance: A Multi-Institutional Study. Journal of surgical education Kim, J. J., Gifford, E. D., Moazzez, A., Sidwell, R. A., Reeves, M. E., Hartranft, T. H., Inaba, K., Jarman, B. T., Are, C., Galante, J. M., Amersi, F., Smith, B. R., Melcher, M. L., Nelson, M. T., Donahue, T., Jacobsen, G., Arnell, T. D., Lee, S., Neville, A., De Virgilio, C. 2015; 72 (6): e236-42


    To determine the influence of program strategies, such as program directors' (PD) attitudes about the American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination (ABSITE) and approach to ABSITE preparation, on residents' ABSITE performance.A 17-item questionnaire was sent to PDs at surgical residency programs. The questions were designed to elicit information regarding the educational curriculum, remediation protocols, and opinions relating to the ABSITE. Main outcome measure was categorical resident ABSITE percentile scores from the January 2014 examination. Statistical analysis was performed using the Student t-test, analysis of variance, and linear regression as appropriate.The study was carried out at general surgery residency programs across the country.In total, 15 general surgery residency PDs participated in the study.The PD response rate was 100%. All 460 resident ABSITE scores from the 15 programs were obtained. In total, 10 programs (67%) identified as university affiliated, 4 programs (27%) as independent academic, and 1 program (7%) as hybrid. The mean number of residents per program was 30.7 (range: 15-57). In total, 14 PDs (93%) indicated that an ABSITE review curriculum was in place and 13 PDs (87%) indicated they had a remediation protocol for residents with low ABSITE scores (with differing thresholds of <30th, <35th, and <40th percentile). The median overall ABSITE score for all residents was 61st percentile (interquartile range = 39.5). The mean ABSITE score for each program ranged from 39th to 75th percentile. Program factors associated with higher ABSITE scores included tracking resident reading throughout the year (median 63rd percentile with tracking vs 59th percentile without, p = 0.040) and the type of remediation (by PD: 77th percentile, by PD and faculty: 57th percentile, faculty only: 64th percentile, with Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (SESAP): 63rd percentile, outside review course: 43rd percentile; p < 0.001). Programs with a remediation protocol trended toward higher ABSITE scores compared with programs without remediation protocols (median 61st percentile vs 53rd percentile, p = 0.098). Factors not significantly associated with ABSITE performance included number of structured educational hours per week and frequency of ABSITE review sessions.Program factors appear to significantly influence ABSITE performance. Programs where the PD was actively involved in remediation mentorship and the tracking of resident reading achieved higher ABSITE percentile scores on the January 2014 examination. Counterintuitively, residents from programs with a lower ABSITE threshold for remediation performed better on the examination.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jsurg.2015.06.014

    View details for PubMedID 26319103

  • Reading Habits of General Surgery Residents and Association With American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination Performance JAMA SURGERY Kim, J. J., Kim, D. Y., Kaji, A. H., Gifford, E. D., Reid, C., Sidwell, R. A., Reeves, M. E., Hartranft, T. H., Inaba, K., Jarman, B. T., Are, C., Galante, J. M., Amersi, F., Smith, B. R., Melcher, M. L., Nelson, T., Donahue, T., Jacobsen, G., Arnell, T. D., de Virgilio, C. 2015; 150 (9): 882-889


    Few large-scale studies have quantified and characterized the study habits of surgery residents. However, studies have shown an association between American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination (ABSITE) scores and subsequent success on the American Board of Surgery Qualifying and Certifying examinations.To identify the quantity of studying, the approach taken when studying, the role that ABSITE preparation plays in resident reading, and factors associated with ABSITE performance.An anonymous 39-item questionnaire including demographic information, past performance on standardized examinations, reading habits, and study sources during the time leading up to the 2014 ABSITE and opinions pertaining to the importance of the ABSITE was administered August 1, 2014, to August 25, 2014, to 371 surgery residents in 15 residency programs nationwide.Scores from the 2014 ABSITE.A total of 273 residents (73.6%) responded to the survey. Seven respondents did not provide their January 2014 ABSITE score, leaving 266 for statistical analysis. Most respondents were male (162 of 266 [60.9%]), with a mean (SD) age of 29.8 (2.6) years. The median number of minutes spent studying per month was 240 (interquartile range, 120-600 minutes) for patient care or clinical duties and 120 for the ABSITE (interquartile range, 30-360 minutes). One hundred sixty-four of 266 respondents (61.7%) reported reading consistently throughout the year for patient care or clinical duties. With respect to ABSITE preparation, 72 of 266 residents (27.1%) reported reading consistently throughout the year, while 247 of 266 residents (92.9%) reported preparing between 1 and 8 weeks prior to the examination. Univariate analysis (with results reported as effect on median ABSITE percentile scores [95% CIs]) identified the following factors as positively correlated with ABSITE scores: prior United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) 1 and 2 scores (per 1-point increase: USMLE 1, 0.1 [0.02-0.14], P = .03; USMLE 2, 0.3 [0.19-0.44], P < .001), prior Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores (per 1-point increase, 1.2 [1.3-2.0]; P = .002), high opinion of ABSITE significance (P < .001), surgical textbook use (11 [6-16]; P = .02), daily studying (13 [4-23]; P = .02), and high satisfaction with study materials (P < .001). On multivariable analysis, USMLE 2 score (per 1-point increase, 0.4 [0.2-0.6]; P < .001), MCAT score (0.6 [0.2-1.0]; P = .003), opinion of ABSITE significance (9.2 [6.9-11.6]; P < .001), and having an equal focus on patient care and ABSITE preparation during study (6.1 [0.6-11.5]; P = .03) were identified as positive predictors of ABSITE performance.Most residents reported reading consistently for patient care throughout the year. Daily studying and textbook use were associated with higher ABSITE scores on univariate analysis. Scores on the USMLE 2 and MCAT, as well as resident attitude regarding the importance of the ABSITE results, were independent predictors of ABSITE performance.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2015.1698

    View details for Web of Science ID 000367584100013

  • Identifying Opportunities to Increase the Throughput of Kidney Paired Donation. Transplantation Liu, W., Treat, E., Veale, J. L., Milner, J., Melcher, M. L. 2015; 99 (7): 1410-1415


    Although kidney paired donation (KPD) has led to thousands of transplants, the 2012 KPD Consensus Conference concluded that more could be done. Perceptions are that a large number of match offers never resulted in transplantations, and unfruitful matches have both financial and emotional costs.To describe, quantify, and analyze the unrealized match offers, we studied the matching process from registration to transplantation in the National Kidney Registry, a large KPD registry, over a 25-month period.Of the 3,180 match offers, 454 were turned down. The most common reasons were the donor was not acceptable (50%) and their recipient had unacceptably high donor-specific antibodies (28%). Of the 2,228 accepted offers, 1,335 advanced to the cell-based cross-match stage because 893 of these were part of chains that fell through. Fifty-five of 887 recorded cell-based cross-matches were positive, 20 donors were unacceptable, and 22 recipients had unacceptably high donor-specific antibodies. Six hundred ninety transplantations were performed.Despite the success of KPD, by analyzing the matching process, we identify several strategies to increase the number of KPD transplantations, including recruiting more participants, processing the match offers more quickly at the transplant center level, enhancing the donor preselection tools, improving communication between centers and the registries, and combining desensitization with KPD.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/TP.0000000000000527

    View details for PubMedID 25606799

  • Paired Match Power and Challenges for O-Patients in Kidney Paired Donation Liu, W., Melcher, M. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2015
  • Recurrent Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Poorer Overall Survival in Patients Undergoing Left-sided Compared With Right-sided Partial Hepatectomy. Journal of clinical gastroenterology Valenzuela, A., Ha, N. B., Gallo, A., Bonham, C., Ahmed, A., Melcher, M., Kim, L. H., Esquivel, C., Concepcion, W., Ayoub, W. S., Lutchman, G. A., Daugherty, T., Nguyen, M. H. 2015; 49 (2): 158-164


    We aimed to determine the incidence and predictors of recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after partial hepatectomy.Liver transplantation is the preferred treatment for selected patients with HCC, but access to donor organs is limited. Partial hepatectomy is another accepted treatment option; however, postoperative recurrence is frequently observed.This is a retrospective cohort study of 107 consecutive patients who underwent partial hepatectomy for HCC between January 1993 and February 2011 at a US University Medical Center. Study endpoints were recurrent HCC, death, loss to follow-up, or last visit without HCC.The study cohort was 78% male with a median age of 61 years and 59% Asians. A total of 50 patients developed recurrent HCC (46.7%) after a median follow-up of 12 (1 to 69) months postresection. Recurrent HCC was significantly higher in patients with left-sided resection (41% at year 1, 54% at year 2, 62% at year 3, 81% at year 4, and 90% at year 5) compared with right-sided resection (18% at year 1, 34% at year 2, 36% at year 3, 44% at year 4, and 72% at year 5). In multivariate Cox proportional hazards model also inclusive of anatomic resection and TNM stage 3/4, left-sided resection was significantly associated with increased HCC recurrence (hazard ratio, 2.13; P=0.02; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-4.2) compared with right-sided resection.HCC recurrence rate is higher among those undergoing left-sided resection: 54% at year 2 and 81% at year 4. Liver transplantation should be considered in patients who are at high risk for recurrence.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000144

    View details for PubMedID 24804988

  • Demographic and Clinical Characteristics of 207 Non-Directed Donors Participating in Paired Exchange Through the National Kidney Registry Pham, T., Waterman, A., Veale, J., Melcher, M. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2015: 79
  • Is Informed Consent Enough? American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Liu, W., Krawiec, K. D., Melcher, M. L. 2015


    As illustrated by Flechner et al (1), patients with renal failure continue to benefit from rapid innovations within multiple Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) registries. The development of the Advanced Donation Program (ADP) facilitates transplants by enabling the donors to donate even when their intended recipients (IR) are not matched yet. However, as with any innovation, ADP introduces new challenges including risks to the IRs and registries, vagueness in the definition of priority granted to the IR, and concerns about fairness to the donor should the IR become untransplantable. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.13615

    View details for PubMedID 26603607

  • Factors Associated With General Surgery Residents' Desire to Leave Residency Programs A Multi-institutional Study JAMA SURGERY Gifford, E., Galante, J., Kaji, A. H., Nguyen, V., Nelson, M. T., Sidwell, R. A., Hartranft, T., Jarman, B., Melcher, M., Reeves, M., Reid, C., Jacobsen, G. R., Thompson, J., Are, C., Smith, B., Arnell, T., Hines, O. J., de Virgilio, C. 2014; 149 (9): 948-953


    General surgical residency continues to experience attrition. To date, work hour amendments have not changed the annual rate of attrition.To determine how often categorical general surgery residents seriously consider leaving residency.At 13 residency programs, an anonymous survey of 371 categorical general surgery residents and 10-year attrition rates for each program. Responses from those who seriously considered leaving surgical residency were compared with those who did not.Factors associated with the desire to leave residency.The survey response rate was 77.6%. Overall, 58.0% seriously considered leaving training. The most frequent reasons for wanting to leave were sleep deprivation on a specific rotation (50.0%), an undesirable future lifestyle (47.0%), and excessive work hours on a specific rotation (41.4%). Factors most often cited that kept residents from leaving were support from family or significant others (65.0%), support from other residents (63.5%), and perception of being better rested (58.9%). On univariate analysis, older age, female sex, postgraduate year, training in a university program, the absence of a faculty mentor, and lack of Alpha Omega Alpha status were associated with serious thoughts of leaving surgical residency. On multivariate analysis, only female sex was significantly associated with serious thoughts of leaving residency (odds ratio, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.1-1.3; P = .003). Eighty-six respondents were from historically high-attrition programs, and 202 respondents were from historically low-attrition programs (27.8% vs 8.4% 10-year attrition rate, P = .04). Residents from high-attrition programs were more likely to seriously consider leaving residency (odds ratio, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.0-3.0; P = .03).A majority of categorical general surgery residents seriously consider leaving residency. Female residents are more likely to consider leaving. Thoughts of leaving seem to be associated with work conditions on specific rotations rather than with overall work hours and are more prevalent among programs with historically high attrition rates.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2014.935

    View details for Web of Science ID 000342389000020

  • Utility, Equality, and the Tradeoff Between Quality of Graft and Waiting Time in KPD Liu, W., Melcher, M. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2014: 125
  • Center-Defined Unacceptable HLA Antigens Facilitate Transplants for Sensitized Patients in a Multi-Center Kidney Exchange Program AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Baxter-Lowe, L. A., Cecka, M., Kamoun, M., Sinacore, J., Melcher, M. L. 2014; 14 (7): 1592-1598


    Multi-center kidney paired donation (KPD) is an exciting new transplant option that has not yet approached its full potential. One barrier to progress is accurate virtual crossmatching for KPD waitlists with many highly sensitized patients. Virtual crossmatch results from a large multi-center consortium, the National Kidney Registry (NKR), were analyzed to determine the effectiveness of flexible center-specific criteria for virtual crossmatching. Approximately two-thirds of the patients on the NKR waitlist are highly sensitized (>80% CPRA). These patients have antibodies against HLA-A (63%), HLA-B (66%), HLA-C (41%), HLA-DRB1 (60%), HLA-DRB3/4/5 (18-22%), HLA-DQB1 (54%) and HLA-DPB1 (26%). With donors typed for these loci before activation, 91% of virtual crossmatches accurately predicted an acceptable cell-based donor crossmatch. Failed virtual crossmatches were attributed to equivocal virtual crossmatches (46%), changes in HLA antibodies (21%), antibodies against HLA-DQA (6%), transcription errors (6%), suspected non-HLA antibodies (5%), allele-specific antibodies (1%) and unknown causes (15%). Some failed crossmatches could be prevented by modifiable factors such as more frequent assessment of HLA antibodies, DQA1 typing of donors and auditing data entry. Importantly, when transplant centers have flexibility to define crossmatch criteria, it is currently feasible to use virtual crossmatching for highly sensitized patients to reliably predict acceptable cell-based crossmatches.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.12734

    View details for Web of Science ID 000338024700019

  • Quantifying the Risk of Incompatible Kidney Transplantation: A Multicenter Study AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Orandi, B. J., Garonzik-Wang, J. M., Massie, A. B., Zachary, A. A., Montgomery, J. R., Van Arendonk, K. J., Stegall, M. D., Jordan, S. C., Oberholzer, J., Dunn, T. B., Ratner, L. E., Kapur, S., Pelletier, R. P., Roberts, J. P., Melcher, M. L., Singh, P., Sudan, D. L., Posner, M. P., El-Amm, J. M., Shapiro, R., Cooper, M., Lipkowitz, G. S., Rees, M. A., Marsh, C. L., Sankari, B. R., Gerber, D. A., Nelson, P. W., Wellen, J., Bozorgzadeh, A., Gaber, A. O., Montgomery, R. A., Segev, D. L. 2014; 14 (7): 1573-1580


    Incompatible live donor kidney transplantation (ILDKT) offers a survival advantage over dialysis to patients with anti-HLA donor-specific antibody (DSA). Program-specific reports (PSRs) fail to account for ILDKT, placing this practice at regulatory risk. We collected DSA data, categorized as positive Luminex, negative flow crossmatch (PLNF) (n = 185), positive flow, negative cytotoxic crossmatch (PFNC) (n = 536) or positive cytotoxic crossmatch (PCC) (n = 304), from 22 centers. We tested associations between DSA, graft loss and mortality after adjusting for PSR model factors, using 9669 compatible patients as a comparison. PLNF patients had similar graft loss; however, PFNC (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 1.64, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.15-2.23, p = 0.007) and PCC (aHR = 5.01, 95% CI: 3.71-6.77, p < 0.001) were associated with increased graft loss in the first year. PLNF patients had similar mortality; however, PFNC (aHR = 2.04; 95% CI: 1.28-3.26; p = 0.003) and PCC (aHR = 4.59; 95% CI: 2.98-7.07; p < 0.001) were associated with increased mortality. We simulated Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services flagging to examine ILDKT's effect on the risk of being flagged. Compared to equal-quality centers performing no ILDKT, centers performing 5%, 10% or 20% PFNC had a 1.19-, 1.33- and 1.73-fold higher odds of being flagged. Centers performing 5%, 10% or 20% PCC had a 2.22-, 4.09- and 10.72-fold higher odds. Failure to account for ILDKT's increased risk places centers providing this life-saving treatment in jeopardy of regulatory intervention.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.12786

    View details for Web of Science ID 000338024700017

  • PREDICT: Instituting an Educational Time Out in the Operating Room. Journal of graduate medical education Yang, R. L., Esquivel, M., Erdrich, J., Lau, J., Melcher, M. L., Wapnir, I. L. 2014; 6 (2): 382-383

    View details for DOI 10.4300/JGME-D-14-00086.1

    View details for PubMedID 24949168

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4054763

  • Primary surgical resection versus liver transplantation for transplant-eligible hepatocellular carcinoma patients. Digestive diseases and sciences Wong, R. J., Wantuck, J., Valenzuela, A., Ahmed, A., Bonham, C., Gallo, A., Melcher, M. L., Lutchman, G., Concepcion, W., Esquivel, C., Garcia, G., Daugherty, T., Nguyen, M. H. 2014; 59 (1): 183-191


    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Existing studies comparing outcomes after liver transplantation (LT) versus surgical resection among transplant-eligible patients are conflicting.The purpose of this study was to compare long-term survival between consecutive transplant-eligible HCC patients treated with resection versus LT.The present retrospective matched case cohort study compares long-term survival outcomes between consecutive transplant-eligible HCC patients treated with resection versus LT using intention-to-treat (ITT) and as-treated models. Resection patients were matched to LT patients by age, sex, and etiology of HCC in a 1:2 ratio.The study included 171 patients (57 resection and 114 LT). Resection patients had greater post-treatment tumor recurrence (43.9 vs. 12.9 %, p < 0.001) compared to LT patients. In the as-treated model of the pre-model for end stage liver disease (MELD) era, LT patients had significantly better 5-year survival compared to resection patients (100 vs. 69.5 %, p = 0.04), but no difference was seen in the ITT model. In the multivariate Cox proportional hazards model, inclusive of age, sex, ethnicity, tumor stage, and MELD era (pre-MELD vs. post-MELD), treatment with resection was an independent predictor of poorer survival (HR 2.72; 95 % CI, 1.08-6.86).Transplant-eligible HCC patients who received LT had significantly better survival than those treated with resection, suggesting that patients who can successfully remain on LT listing and actually undergo LT have better outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10620-013-2947-8

    View details for PubMedID 24282054

  • Quantifying the Risk of Incompatible Kidney Transplantation: A Multi-Center Study Orandi, B., Garonzik-Wang, J., Montgomery, J., Massie, A., Van Arendonk, K., Stegall, M., Jordan, S., Oberholzer, J., Dunn, T., Ratner, L., Kapur, S., Pelletier, R., Roberts, J., Melcher, M., Singh, P., Sudan, D., Posner, M., El-Amm, J., Shapiro, R., Cooper, M., Lipkowitz, G., Rees, M., Marsh, C., Mongtomery, R., Segev, D. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2014: 67
  • Measuring Utility and Fairness in Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) Liu, W., Milner, J., Veale, J., Melcher, M. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2014: 79
  • Effect of the 16-Hour Work Limit on General Surgery Intern Operative Case Volume A Multi-institutional Study JAMA SURGERY Schwartz, S. I., Galante, J., Kaji, A., Dolich, M., Easter, D., Melcher, M. L., Patel, K., Reeves, M. E., Salim, A., Senagore, A. J., Takanishi, D. M., de Virgilio, C. 2013; 148 (9): 829-833


    The 80-hour work-week limit for all residents was instituted in 2003 and studies looking at its effect have been mixed. Since the advent of the 16-hour mandate for postgraduate year 1 residents in July 2011, no data have been published regarding the effect of this additional work-hour restriction.To determine whether the 16-hour intern work limit, implemented in July 2011, has adversely affected operative experience.A retrospective review of categorical postgraduate year 1 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case logs from the intern class (N = 52) (with 16-hour work limit) compared with the 4 preceding years (2007-2010; N = 197) (without 16-hour work limit). A total of 249 categorical general surgery interns from 10 general surgery residency programs in the western United States were included.Total, major, first-assistant, and defined-category case totals.As compared with the preceding 4 years, the 2011-2012 interns recorded a 25.8% decrease in total operative cases (65.9 vs 88.8, P = .005), a 31.8% decrease in major cases (54.9 vs 80.5, P < .001), and a 46.3% decrease in first-assistant cases (11.1 vs 20.7, P = .008). There were statistically significant decreases in cases within the defined categories of abdomen, endocrine, head and neck, basic laparoscopy, complex laparoscopy, pediatrics, thoracic, and soft tissue/breast surgery in the 16-hour shift intern era, whereas there was no decrease in trauma, vascular, alimentary, endoscopy, liver, and pancreas cases.The 16-hour work limit for interns, implemented in July 2011, is associated with a significant decrease in categorical intern operative experience. If the 16-hour shift were to be extended to all postgraduate year levels, one can anticipate that additional years of training will be needed to maintain the same operative volume.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.2677

    View details for Web of Science ID 000325212300009

    View details for PubMedID 23843028

  • Kidney failure in a transplant from an identical twin. American journal of kidney diseases Lum, E. L., Morton, J. M., Melcher, M. L. 2013; 62 (2): xxi-xxiii

    View details for DOI 10.1053/j.ajkd.2013.03.046

    View details for PubMedID 23883662

  • Dynamic Challenges Inhibiting Optimal Adoption of Kidney Paired Donation: Findings of a Consensus Conference AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Melcher, M. L., Blosser, C. D., Baxter-Lowe, L. A., Delmonico, F. L., Gentry, S. E., Leishman, R., Knoll, G. A., Leffell, M. S., Leichtman, A. B., Mast, D. A., Nickerson, P. W., Reed, E. F., Rees, M. A., Rodrigue, J. R., Segev, D. L., Serur, D., Tullius, S. G., Zavala, E. Y., Feng, S. 2013; 13 (4): 851-860


    While kidney paired donation (KPD) enables the utilization of living donor kidneys from healthy and willing donors incompatible with their intended recipients, the strategy poses complex challenges that have limited its adoption in United States and Canada. A consensus conference was convened March 29-30, 2012 to address the dynamic challenges and complexities of KPD that inhibit optimal implementation. Stakeholders considered donor evaluation and care, histocompatibility testing, allocation algorithms, financing, geographic challenges and implementation strategies with the goal to safely maximize KPD at every transplant center. Best practices, knowledge gaps and research goals were identified and summarized in this document.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.12140

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316911900008

    View details for PubMedID 23398969

  • The influence of intern home call on objectively measured perioperative outcomes. JAMA surgery Kastenberg, Z. J., Rhoads, K. F., Melcher, M. L., Wren, S. M. 2013; 148 (4): 347-351


    HYPOTHESIS In July 2011, surgical interns were prohibited from being on call from home by the new residency review committee guidelines on work hours. In support of the new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education work-hour restrictions, we expected that a period of intern home call would correlate with increased rates of postoperative morbidity and mortality. DESIGN Prospective cohort. SETTING University-affiliated tertiary Veterans Affairs Medical Center. PATIENTS All patients identified in the Veterans Affairs National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database who underwent an operation performed by general, vascular, urologic, or cardiac surgery services between fiscal years (FYs) 1999 and 2010 were included. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES During FYs 1999-2003, the first call for all patients went to an in-hospital intern. In the subsequent period (FYs 2004-2010), the first call went to an intern on home call. Thirty-day unadjusted morbidity and mortality rates and risk-adjusted observed to expected ratios were analyzed by univariate analysis and joinpoint regression, respectively. RESULTS Unadjusted overall morbidity rates decreased between 1999-2003 and 2004-2010 (12.14% to 10.19%, P =  .003). The risk-adjusted morbidity observed to expected ratios decreased at a uniform annual percentage change of -6.03% (P < .001). Unadjusted overall mortality rates also decreased between the 2 periods (1.76% to 1.26%; P =  .05). There was no significant change in the risk-adjusted mortality observed to expected ratios during the study. CONCLUSIONS The institution of an intern home call schedule was not associated with increased rates of postoperative morbidity or mortality.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.1063

    View details for PubMedID 23715944

  • Evaluating Deceased Donor Registries: Identifying Predictive Factors of Donor Designation AMERICAN SURGEON Hajhosseini, B., Stewart, B., Tan, J. C., Busque, S., Melcher, M. L. 2013; 79 (3): 235-241


    The objectives of this study were to evaluate and compare the performance of the deceased donor registries of the 50 states and the District of Columbia and to identify possible predictive factors of donor designation. Data were collected retrospectively by Donate Life America using a questionnaire sent to Donor Designation Collaborative state teams between 2007 and 2010. By the end of 2010, there were 94,669,081 designated donors nationwide. This accounted for 39.8 per cent of the U.S. population aged 18 years and over. The number of designated organ donors and registry-authorized recovered donors increased each year; however, the total number of recovered donors in 2010 was the lowest since 2004. Donor designation rate was significantly higher when license applicants were verbally questioned at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regarding their willingness to register as a donor and when DMV applicants were not given an option on DMV application forms to contribute money to support organ donation, compared with not being questioned verbally, and being offered an option to contribute money. State registries continue to increase the total number of designated organ donors; however, the current availability of organs remains insufficient to meet the demand. These data suggest that DMV applicants who are approached verbally regarding their willingness to register as a donor and not given an option on DMV application forms to contribute money to support organ donation might be more likely to designate themselves to be a donor.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315606500003

    View details for PubMedID 23461946

  • Kidney Transplant Chains Amplify Benefit of Nondirected Donors JAMA SURGERY Melcher, M. L., Veale, J. L., Javaid, B., Leeser, D. B., Davis, C. L., Hil, G., Milner, J. E. 2013; 148 (2): 165-169


    Despite the potential for altruistic nondirected donors (NDDs) to trigger multiple transplants through nonsimultaneous transplant chains, concerns exist that these chains siphon NDDs from the deceased donor wait list and that donors within chains might not donate after their partner receives a transplant.To determine the number of transplantations NDDs trigger through chains.Retrospective review of large, multicenter living donor-recipient database.Fifty-seven US transplant centers contributing donor-recipient pairs to the database.The NDDs initiating chain transplantation.Number of transplants per NDD.Seventy-seven NDDs enabled 373 transplantations during 46 months starting February 2008. Mean chain length initiated by NDDs was 4.8 transplants (median, 3; range, 1-30). The 40 blood type O NDDs triggered a mean chain length of 6.0 (median, 4; range, 2-30). During the interval, 66 of 77 chains were closed to the wait list, 4 of 77 were ongoing, and 7 of 77 were broken because bridge donors became unavailable. No chains were broken in the last 15 months, and every recipient whose incompatible donor donated received a kidney. One hundred thirty-three blood type O recipients were transplanted. CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: This large series demonstrates that NDDs trigger almost 5 transplants on average, more if the NDD is blood type O. There were more blood type O recipients than blood type O NDDs participating. The benefits of transplanting 373 patients and enabling others without living donors to advance outweigh the risk of broken chains that is decreasing with experience. Even 66 patients on the wait list without living donors underwent transplantation with living-donor grafts at the end of these chains.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316681300011

    View details for PubMedID 23426593

  • Reoperation in Pediatric Liver Transplantation: A Five Year Review 13th Annual State of the Art Winter Symposium of the American-Society-of-Transplant-Surgeons (ASTS) Held in Conjunction with the NATCO Symposium for Advanced Transplant Professionals Feinberg, E. J., Beruman, J. A., Campos, B. D., Lodhia, N., Gallo, A. E., Melcher, M., Bonham, C. A., Concepcion, W., Esquivel, C. O. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2013: 84–84
  • Desensitization Combined With Paired Exchange Leads to Successful Transplantation in Highly Sensitized Kidney Transplant Recipients: Strategy and Report of Five Cases TRANSPLANTATION PROCEEDINGS Yabu, J. M., Pando, M. J., Busque, S., Melcher, M. L. 2013; 45 (1): 82-87


    Sensitization remains a major barrier to kidney transplantation. Sensitized patients comprise 30% of the kidney transplant waiting list but fewer than 15% of highly sensitized patients are transplanted each year. Options for highly sensitized patients with an immunologically incompatible living donor include desensitization or kidney paired donation (KPD). However, these options when used alone may still not be sufficient to allow a compatible transplant for recipients who are broadly sensitized with cumulative calculated panel-reactive antibody (cPRA) > 95%. We describe in this report the combined use of both desensitization and KPD to maximize the likelihood of finding a compatible match with a more immunologically favorable donor through a kidney exchange program. This combined approach was used in five very highly sensitized patients, all with cPRA 100%, who ultimately received compatible living and deceased donor kidney transplants. We conclude that early enrollment in paired kidney donor exchange and tailored desensitization protocols are key strategies to improve care and rates of kidney transplantation in highly sensitized patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.transproceed.2012.08.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315007200013

    View details for PubMedID 23375278

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3564056

  • Symbiotic or Parasitic? A Review of the Literature on the Impact of Fellowships on Surgical Residents ANNALS OF SURGERY Plerhoples, T. A., Greco, R. S., Krummel, T. M., Melcher, M. L. 2012; 256 (6): 904-908


    We conducted a systematic review of published literature to gain a better understanding of the impact of advanced fellowships on surgical resident training and education.As fellowship opportunities rise, resident training may be adversely impacted.PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, BIOSIS, Web of Science, and a manual search of article bibliographies. Of the 139 citations identified through the initial electronic search and screened for possible inclusion, 23 articles were retained and accepted for this review. Data were extracted regarding surgical specialty, methodology, sample population, outcomes measured, and results.Eight studies retrospectively compared the eras before and after the introduction of a fellowship or trended data over time. Approximately half used data from a single institution, whereas the other half used some form of national data or survey. Only 3 studies used national case data. Fourteen studies looked at general surgery, 6 at obstetrics-gynecology, 2 at urology, and 1 at otolaryngology. Only one study concluded that fellowships have a generally positive impact on resident education, whereas 9 others found a negative impact. The remaining 13 studies found mixed results (n = 6) or minimal to no impact (n = 7).The overall impact of advanced surgical fellowships on surgical resident education and training remains unclear, as most studies rely on limited data of questionable generalizability. A careful study of the national database of surgery resident case logs is essential to better understand how early surgical specialization and fellowships will impact the future of general surgery education.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SLA.0b013e318262edd5

    View details for Web of Science ID 000312261000012

    View details for PubMedID 22968071

  • Chain Transplantation: Initial Experience of a Large Multicenter Program AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Melcher, M. L., Leeser, D. B., Gritsch, H. A., Milner, J., Kapur, S., Busque, S., Roberts, J. P., Katznelson, S., Bry, W., Yang, H., Lu, A., Mulgaonkar, S., Danovitch, G. M., Hil, G., VEALE, J. L. 2012; 12 (9): 2429-2436


    We report the results of a large series of chain transplantations that were facilitated by a multicenter US database in which 57 centers pooled incompatible donor/recipient pairs. Chains, initiated by nondirected donors, were identified using a computer algorithm incorporating virtual cross-matches and potential to extend chains. The first 54 chains facilitated 272 kidney transplants (mean chain length = 5.0). Seven chains ended because potential donors became unavailable to donate after their recipient received a kidney; however, every recipient whose intended donor donated was transplanted. The remaining 47 chains were eventually closed by having the last donor donate to the waiting list. Of the 272 chain recipients 46% were ethnic minorities and 63% of grafts were shipped from other centers. The number of blood type O-patients receiving a transplant (n = 90) was greater than the number of blood type O-non-directed donors (n = 32) initiating chains. We have 1-year follow up on the first 100 transplants. The mean 1-year creatinine of the first 100 transplants from this series was 1.3 mg/dL. Chain transplantation enables many recipients with immunologically incompatible donors to be transplanted with high quality grafts.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2012.04156.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000307945000021

    View details for PubMedID 22812922

  • General Surgery Resident Remediation and Attrition A Multi-institutional Study ARCHIVES OF SURGERY Yaghoubian, A., Galante, J., Kaji, A., Reeves, M., Melcher, M., Salim, A., Dolich, M., de Virgilio, C. 2012; 147 (9): 829-833


    To determine the rates and predictors of remediation and attrition among general surgery residents.Eleven-year retrospective analysis of 348 categorical general surgery residents at 6 West Coast programs.Rates and predictors of remediation and attrition.Three hundred forty-eight categorical general surgery residents were included. One hundred seven residents (31%) required remediation, of which 27 were remediated more than once. Fifty-five residents (15.8%) left their programs, although only 2 were owing to failed remediation. Remediation was not a predictor of attrition (20% attrition for those remediated vs 15% who were not [P = .40]). Remediation was most frequently initiated owing to a deficiency in medical knowledge (74%). Remediation consisted of monthly meetings with faculty (79%), reading assignments (72%), required conferences (27%), therapy (12%), and repeating a clinical year (6.5%). On univariate analysis, predictors of remediation included receiving honors in the third-year surgery clerkship, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) step 1 and/or step 2, and American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination scores at postgraduate years 1 through 4. On multivariable regression analysis, remediation was associated with receiving honors in surgery (odds ratio, 1.9; P = .01) and USMLE step 1 score (odds ratio, 0.9; P = .02). On univariate analysis, the only predictor of attrition was the American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination score at the postgraduate year 3 level (P = .04).Almost one third of categorical general surgery residents required remediation during residency, which was most often owing to medical knowledge deficits. Lower USMLE step 1 scores were predictors of the need for remediation. Most remediated residents successfully completed the program. Given the high rates of remediation and the increased educational burden on clinical faculty, medical schools need to focus on better preparing students to enter surgical residency.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000308883700013

    View details for PubMedID 22987173

  • Incidental kidney stones: a single center experience with kidney donor selection CLINICAL TRANSPLANTATION Kim, I. K., Tan, J. C., Lapasia, J., Elihu, A., Busque, S., Melcher, M. L. 2012; 26 (4): 558-563


    The presence of kidney stones has been a relative contraindication for living donation. With the widespread use of more sensitive imaging techniques as part of the routine living donor workup, kidney stones are more frequently detected, and their clinical significance in this setting is largely unknown. Records from 325 potential kidney donors who underwent MRA or CT-angiography were reviewed; 294 proceeded to donation. The prevalence of kidney stones found incidentally during donor evaluation was 7.4% (24 of 325). Sixteen donors with stones proceeded with kidney donation. All incidental calculi were nonobstructing and small (median 2 mm; range 1-9 mm). Eleven recipients were transplanted with allografts containing stones. One recipient developed symptomatic nephrolithasis after transplantation. This recipient was found to have newly formed stones secondary to hyperoxaluria, suggesting a recipient-driven propensity for stone formation. The remaining ten recipients have stable graft function, postoperative ultrasound negative for nephrolithiasis, and no sequelae from stones. No donor developed symptomatic nephrolithiasis following donation. Judicious use of allografts with small stones in donors with normal metabolic studies may be acceptable, and careful follow-up in recipients of such allografts is warranted.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2011.01567.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000307344400024

    View details for PubMedID 22168332

  • Multiple renal arteries and non-contrast magnetic resonance angiography in transplant renal artery stenosis. Clinical kidney journal Munoz Mendoza, J., Melcher, M. L., Daniel, B., Tan, J. C. 2012; 5 (3): 272-275

    View details for DOI 10.1093/ckj/sfs027

    View details for PubMedID 26069784

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4400505

  • Potential Nutritional Conflicts in Bariatric and Renal Transplant Patients OBESITY SURGERY Lightner, A. L., Lau, J., Obayashi, P., Birge, K., Melcher, M. L. 2011; 21 (12): 1965-1970


    An increasing number of morbidly obese patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) are sequentially undergoing bariatric surgery followed by renal transplantation. Discrepancies between the nutritional recommendations for obesity and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are often confusing for the obese patient in renal failure. However, when recommendations are structured according to stage and treatment of disease, a consistent plan can be clearly communicated to the patient. Therefore, to optimize patient and graft outcomes we present nutritional recommendations tailored to three patient populations: obese patients with ESRD, patients post Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP) with ESRD, and patients post RYGBP and post renal transplantation.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11695-011-0423-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000297201700023

    View details for PubMedID 21526378

  • Cytomegalovirus in the transplanted kidney: a report of two cases and review of prophylaxis. NDT plus Anand, S., Yabu, J. M., Melcher, M. L., Kambham, N., Laszik, Z., Tan, J. C. 2011; 4 (5): 342-345

    View details for DOI 10.1093/ndtplus/sfr074

    View details for PubMedID 25984184

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4421734

  • Incidence and Predictors of Recurrent Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) Following Partial Hepatectomy 76th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American-College-of-Gastroenterology Vergara, A. M., Gallo, A., Nghiem Ha, N., Bonham, C., Esquivel, C., Concepcion, W., Melcher, M., Daugherty, T., Ayoub, W., Lutchman, G., Ahmed, A., Mindie Nguyen, M. NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP. 2011: S103–S104
  • Managing Finances of Shipping Living Donor Kidneys for Donor Exchanges AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Mast, D. A., Vaughan, W., Busque, S., VEALE, J. L., Roberts, J. P., Straube, B. M., Flores, N., Canari, C., Levy, E., Tietjen, A., Hil, G., Melcher, M. L. 2011; 11 (9): 1810-1814


    Kidney donor exchanges enable recipients with immunologically incompatible donors to receive compatible living donor grafts; however, the financial management of these exchanges, especially when an organ is shipped, is complex and thus has the potential to impede the broader implementation of donor exchange programs. Representatives from transplant centers that utilize the National Kidney Registry database to facilitate donor exchange transplants developed a financial model applicable to paired donor exchanges and donor chain transplants. The first tenet of the model is to eliminate financial liability to the donor. Thereafter, it accounts for the donor evaluation, donor nephrectomy hospital costs, donor nephrectomy physician fees, organ transport, donor complications and recipient inpatient services. Billing between hospitals is based on Medicare cost report defined costs rather than charges. We believe that this model complies with current federal regulations and effectively captures costs of the donor and recipient services. It could be considered as a financial paradigm for the United Network for Organ Sharing managed donor exchange program.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03690.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294360400009

    View details for PubMedID 21831153

  • Transporting Live Donor Kidneys for Kidney Paired Donation: Initial National Results AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Segev, D. L., VEALE, J. L., Berger, J. C., Hiller, J. M., Hanto, R. L., Leeser, D. B., GEFFNER, S. R., Shenoy, S., BRY, W. I., Katznelson, S., Melcher, M. L., Rees, M. A., Samara, E. N., Israni, A. K., Cooper, M., Montgomery, R. J., Malinzak, L., Whiting, J., Baran, D., Tchervenkov, J. I., Roberts, J. P., Rogers, J., Axelrod, D. A., Simpkins, C. E., Montgomery, R. A. 2011; 11 (2): 356-360


    Optimizing the possibilities for kidney-paired donation (KPD) requires the participation of donor-recipient pairs from wide geographic regions. Initially it was envisaged that donors would travel to the recipient center; however, to minimize barriers to participation and simplify logistics, recent trends have involved transporting the kidneys rather than the donors. The goal of this study was to review outcomes of this practice. KPD programs throughout the United States were directly queried about all transplants involving live donor kidney transport. Early graft function was assessed by urine output in the first 8 h, postoperative serum creatinine trend, and incidence of delayed graft function. Between April 27, 2007 and April 29, 2010, 56 live donor kidneys were transported among 30 transplant centers. Median CIT was 7.2 h (IQR 5.5-9.7, range 2.5-14.5). Early urine output was robust (>100 cc/h) in all but four patients. Creatinine nadir was <2.0 mg/dL in all (including the four with lower urine output) but one patient, occurring at a median of 3 days (IQR 2-5, range 1-49). No patients experienced delayed graft function as defined by the need for dialysis in the first week. Current evidence suggests that live donor kidney transport is safe and feasible.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2010.03386.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000286626700023

    View details for PubMedID 21272238

  • Sclerosing Peritonitis After Kidney Transplantation: A Not-So-Silky Cocoon DIGESTIVE DISEASES AND SCIENCES Morrow, E. H., Gallo, A. E., Melcher, M. L. 2011; 56 (2): 307-310

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10620-010-1471-3

    View details for Web of Science ID 000286664900007

    View details for PubMedID 21063775

  • Cytomegalovirus in the transplanted kidney: a report of two cases and review of prophylaxis Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation Anand S, Yabu JM, Melcher ML, Kambham N, Laszik Z, Tan JC. 2011; 4 (5): 342-345
  • Donors with Kidney Stones: Should We Pass? Congress of the American-Society-of-Transplant-Surgeons Kim, I. K., Lapasia, J., Elihu, A., Tan, J., Scandling, J., Busque, S., Melcher, M. WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC. 2011: 66–66
  • Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis of Mycophenolic Acid Coadministered With Either Tasocitinib (CP-690,550) or Tacrolimus in Adult Renal Allograft Recipients THERAPEUTIC DRUG MONITORING Lamba, M., Tafti, B., Melcher, M., Chan, G., Krishnaswami, S., Busque, S. 2010; 32 (6): 778-781


    Tasocitinib (CP-690,550) is an orally active Janus kinase inhibitor that is in development for prophylaxis of acute rejection after kidney transplantation and for the treatment of select autoimmune diseases. The current study was conducted to evaluate the systemic exposure of mycophenolic acid (MPA) in de novo kidney transplant patients when coadministered with tasocitinib compared with exposure in patients receiving tacrolimus, which has no effect on MPA pharmacokinetics. Plasma MPA concentrations were obtained from 17 adult patients who received either 15 mg or 30 mg tasocitinib twice daily (eight patients) or tacrolimus (nine patients) after kidney transplantation. All patients also received concomitant mycophenolate mofetil, prednisone, and basiliximab induction. The median mycophenolate mofetil dose was 1000 mg twice daily. A two-compartment population pharmacokinetic model estimating oral clearance, between-patient variability in oral clearance, central volume of distribution, and residual variability in combination with historical estimates of first-order absorption rate constant, intercompartmental clearance, and peripheral volume of distribution adequately described the sparse MPA data. Based on individual estimates oral clearance from the population pharmacokinetic model, mean steady-state area under the concentration-time curve values for a mycophenolate mofetil dose of 1000 mg twice daily were 63 mg·hr/L (22%) and 59 mg·hr/L (36%) for the tasocitinib and tacrolimus groups, respectively. These results indicate that tasocitinib does not influence systemic MPA exposure.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/FTD.0b013e3181f361c9

    View details for Web of Science ID 000284103400017

    View details for PubMedID 20926996

  • Outcomes of surgical repair of bile leaks and strictures after adult-to-adult living donor liver transplant CLINICAL TRANSPLANTATION Melcher, M. L., Freise, C. E., Ascher, N. L., Roberts, J. P. 2010; 24 (6): E230-E235


    We sought to determine factors that predict the successful surgical repair of biliary complications after adult living donor liver transplantation (ALDLT).Records of 82 consecutive ALDLT right lobe recipients were reviewed. Operations were performed on 19 recipients for biliary complications. Post-operative biliary complications were analyzed. Fisher's exact test was used to identify variables that correlated with successful surgical repair.A total of 29 recipients had biliary complications, of which 19 had a surgical repair. The five recipients, operated on for a stricture without history of leaks, did not develop further complications. However, nine of 14 with a history of a leak developed further complications after surgical repair (p-value = 0.044). All five who presented with a biliary complication more than 100 d after transplant had successful surgical repair; however, nine out of 13 who presented within 57 d had additional complications after repair.Operations for strictures after ALDLT are more successful than operations for leaks. Recipients with isolated biliary strictures after ALDLT can be managed surgically; however, recipients with history of a leak often require additional interventions after surgical repair.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2010.01289.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000284894800004

    View details for PubMedID 20529098

  • Comparison of biliary complications in adult living-donor liver transplants performed at two busy transplant centers CLINICAL TRANSPLANTATION Melcher, M. L., Pomposelli, J. J., Verbesey, J. E., McTaggart, R. A., Freise, C. E., Ascher, N. L., Roberts, J. P., Pomfret, E. A. 2010; 24 (5): E137-E144


    Adult living-donor liver transplantation (ALDLT) has a high rate of biliary complications. We identified risk factors that correlate with biliary leaks and strictures by combining data from two centers. Records of ALDLT right lobe recipients (n = 156) at two centers between December 1998 and February 2005 were reviewed. Leak rate was analyzed in 144 recipients after we excluded those with hepatic artery thrombosis or death within 30 d of transplant. Stricture rate was also analyzed in 132 recipients after we excluded those with graft survival or follow-up <180 d. Biliary reconstructions were performed using either duct-to-duct (DD) or Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy and were subclassified by anatomic type, number of anastomoses performed, and stent use. Prevalence of a leak and/or a stricture was 39%; 11% of recipients developed both. Single DD anastomoses between the graft right hepatic duct to the recipient common duct had significantly lower incidence of leaks compared to all other anastomotic types. Early leak was predictive of late stricture development (p = 0.006), but recipient demographics, diagnosis, warm ischemia time, anastomosis type, duct number, year of transplant, stent use, and transplant center were not. The results suggest donors with a single right hepatic duct reconstructed to the recipient common bile duct are the most likely to avoid biliary problems after ALDLT.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2009.01189.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282570300002

    View details for PubMedID 20047615

  • Predicting Performance on the American Board of Surgery Qualifying and Certifying Examinations A Multi-institutional Study ARCHIVES OF SURGERY de Virgilio, C., Yaghoubian, A., Kaji, A., Collins, J. C., Deveney, K., Dolich, M., Easter, D., Hines, O. J., Katz, S., Liu, T., Mahmoud, A., Melcher, M. L., Parks, S., Reeves, M., Salim, A., Scherer, L., Takanishi, D., Waxman, K. 2010; 145 (9): 852-856


    We sought to determine whether US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 score, American Board of Surgery (ABS) In-Training Examination (ABSITE) score, and other variables are associated with failing the ABS qualifying and certifying examinations. Identifying such factors may assist in the early implementation of an academic intervention for at-risk residents.Retrospective review.Seventeen general surgery training programs in the western United States.Six hundred seven residents who graduated in 2000-2007.First-time pass rates on the qualifying and certifying examinations, US vs non-US medical school graduation, USMLE Steps 1 and 2 scores, ABSITE scores, operative case volume, fellowship training, residency program type, and mandatory research.The first-time qualifying and certifying examination pass rates for the 607 graduating residents were 78% and 74%, respectively. On multivariable analysis, scoring below the 35th percentile on the ABSITE at any time during residency was associated with an increased risk of failing both examinations (odds ratio, 0.23 [95% confidence interval, 0.08-0.68] for the qualifying examination and 0.35 [0.20-0.61] for the certifying examination), as was scoring less than 200 on the USMLE Step 1 (0.36 [0.21-0.62] for the qualifying examination and 0.62 [0.42-0.93] for the certifying examination). A mandatory research year was associated with an increased likelihood of passing the certifying examination (odds ratio, 3.3 [95% confidence interval, 1.6-6.8]).Residents who are more likely to fail the ABS qualifying and certifying examinations can be identified by a low USMLE Step 1 score and by poor performance on the ABSITE at any time during residency. These findings support the use of the USMLE Step 1 score in the surgical residency selection process and a formal academic intervention for residents who perform poorly on the ABSITE.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281764400010

    View details for PubMedID 20855755

  • Impact of Short Term Pre-Transplant Dialysis on Kidney Transplant Outcomes 10th American Transplant Congress Javaid, B., Kim, J., Yabu, J., Tan, J., Melcher, M., Busque, S., Scandling, J. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2010: 525–525
  • Risk of Graft Failure Due to Disease Recurrence in Patients with FSGS 10th American Transplant Congress Kim, J., Yabu, J., Tan, J., Scandling, J., Melcher, M., Busque, S., Javaid, B. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2010: 196–197
  • Recovery of Renal Function in a Dialysis-Dependent Patient Following Gastric Bypass Surgery OBESITY SURGERY Tafti, B. A., Haghdoost, M., ALVAREZ, L., Curet, M., Melcher, M. L. 2009; 19 (9): 1335-1339


    There is increasing evidence that obesity, independently from other comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, can cause renal dysfunction. While this indolent dysfunction may be asymptomatic, it can render patients more susceptible to renal insufficiency when the kidneys are further injured by other pathological processes. Here, we present a morbidly obese patient whose type-A aortic dissection was complicated by acute renal failure that subsequently progressed into end-stage renal disease. However, his renal function improved dramatically following substantial weight reduction after gastric bypass surgery obviating the need for dialysis and transplantation. The potential mechanisms by which a patient's obesity may lead to renal dysfunction are discussed. This case and other similar reports suggest that obese patients with renal failure can safely undergo bariatric surgery and that bariatric surgery may have a role in treating chronic kidney disease in select morbidly obese patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11695-009-9907-6

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269153200022

    View details for PubMedID 19693639

  • Asynchronous, Out-of-Sequence, Transcontinental Chain Kidney Transplantation: A Novel Concept AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Butt, F. K., Gritsch, H. A., Schulam, P., Danovitch, G. M., Wilkinson, A., Del Pizzo, J., Kapur, S., Serur, D., Katznelson, S., Busque, S., Melcher, M. L., McGuire, S., Charlton, M., Hil, G., Veale, J. L. 2009; 9 (9): 2180-2185


    The organ donor shortage has been the most important hindrance in getting listed patients transplanted. Living kidney donors who are incompatible with their intended recipients are an untapped resource for expanding the donor pool through participation in transplant exchanges. Chain transplantation takes this concept further, with the potential to benefit even more recipients. We describe the first asynchronous, out of sequence transplant chain that was initiated by transcontinental shipment of an altruistic donor kidney 1 week after that recipient's incompatible donor had already donated his kidney to the next recipient in the chain. The altruistic donor kidney was transported from New York to Los Angeles and functioned immediately after transplantation. Our modified-sequence asynchronous transplant chain (MATCH) enabled eight recipients, at four different institutions, to benefit from the generosity of one altruistic donor and warrants further exploration as a promising step toward addressing the organ donor shortage.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2009.02730.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269180500027

    View details for PubMedID 19563335

  • Postoperative infectious complications of abdominal solid organ transplantation. Journal of intensive care medicine Hlava, N., Niemann, C. U., Gropper, M. A., Melcher, M. L. 2009; 24 (1): 3-17


    There is a rapidly growing population of immunocompromised organ transplant recipients. These patients are at risk of a large variety of infections that have significant consequences on mortality, graft dysfunction, and graft loss. The diagnosis and treatment of these infections are facilitated by an understanding of the preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative risk factors; the typical pathogens; and their characteristic time of presentation. On the basis of these factors, we put forth an algorithm for diagnosing and treating suspected infections in solid organ transplant recipients.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0885066608327127

    View details for PubMedID 19017663

  • Accounting for Donor Charges in Kidney Donor Chains. 9th Joint Meeting of the American-Society-of-Transplant-Surgeon/American-Society-of-Transplantation Melcher, M. L., Veale, J., Mast, D., Standridge, K., Goldberg, S., MOYLE, C., Flores, N., Busque, S. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2009: 435–436
  • "Something Special in the Air": Transcontinental Shipments of Living Donor Kidneys for Transplantation. 9th Joint Meeting of the American-Society-of-Transplant-Surgeon/American-Society-of-Transplantation Veale, J. L., Butt, F. K., Gritsch, H. A., Danovitch, G., Wilkinson, A., Schulam, P., Del Pizzo, J., Kapur, S., Leeser, D., Serur, D., Katznelson, S., Busque, S., Melcher, M. L., McGuire, S., Charlton, M., Hil, G., Cecka, J. M. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2009: 435–435
  • Overcoming Immunological Barriers to Living Donor Kidney Transplantation At Stanford University Medical Center SGH Proceedings Ladner DP, Busque S, Melcher ML 2008; 17 (1): 5-19
  • Thymoglobulin-associated Cd4+ T-cell depletion and infection risk in HIV-infected renal transplant recipients AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Carter, J. T., Melcher, M. L., Carlson, L. L., Roland, M. E., Stock, P. G. 2006; 6 (4): 753-760


    HIV-infected patients are increasingly referred for kidney transplantation, and may be at an increased risk for rejection. Treatment for rejection frequently includes thymoglobulin. We studied thymoglobulin's effect on CD4+ T-cell count, risk of infection and rejection reversal in 20 consecutive HIV-infected kidney recipients. All patients used antiretroviral therapy and opportunistic infection prophylaxis. Maintenance immunosuppression consisted of prednisone, mycophenolate mofetil and cyclosporine. Eleven patients received thymoglobulin (7 for rejection and 4 for delayed/slow graft function) while 9 did not. These two groups were similar in age, gender, race, donor characteristics and immunosuppression. Mean CD4+ T-cell counts remained stable in patients who did not receive thymoglobulin, but became profoundly suppressed in those who did, decreasing from 475 +/- 192 to 9 +/- 10 cells/microL (p < 0.001). Recovery time ranged from 3 weeks to 2 years despite effective HIV suppression. Although opportunistic infections were successfully suppressed, low CD4+ T-cell count was associated with increased risk of serious infections requiring hospitalization. Rejection reversed in 6 of 7 patients receiving thymoglobulin. We conclude that thymoglobulin reverses acute rejection in HIV-infected kidney recipients, but produces profound and long-lasting suppression of the CD4+ T-cell count associated with increased risk of infections requiring hospitalization.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2006.01238.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000235839900015

    View details for PubMedID 16539632

  • Antibody-mediated rejection of a pancreas allograft AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Melcher, M. L., Olson, J. L., Baxter-Lowe, L. A., Stock, P. G., Posselt, A. M. 2006; 6 (2): 423-428


    The role of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) in pancreas transplantation is poorly understood. Here, we report on a patient who developed AMR of his pancreas allograft after receiving a simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant. Pre-operative enhanced cytotoxicity and flow cytometry T-cell crossmatches were negative; B-cell crossmatches were not performed as per institutional protocol. The patient's post-operative course was significant for elevated serum amylase levels and development of hyperglycemia approximately 1 month after transplantation. A pancreatic biopsy at this time showed no cellular infiltrate but strong immunofluorescent staining for C4d in the interacinar capillaries. Analysis of the patient's serum identified donor-specific HLA-DR alloantibodies. He received intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), rituximab and plasmapheresis, and his pancreatic function normalized. We conclude that clinically significant AMR can develop in a pancreas allograft and recommend that pancreatic biopsies be assessed for C4d deposition if the patient has risk factors for AMR and/or the pathologic evidence for cell-mediated rejection is underwhelming.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2005.01185.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000234735200025

    View details for PubMedID 16426331

  • Spontaneous splenic rupture: The masquerade of minor trauma 35th Annual Meeting of the Western-Trauma-Association Tataria, M., Dicker, R. A., Melcher, M., Spain, D. A., Brundage, S. I. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2005: 1228–30
  • Gastric carcinoid tumors in multiple endocrine neoplasia-1 patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome can be symptomatic, demonstrate aggressive growth, and require surgical treatment 25th Annua Meeting of the American-Association-of-Endocrine-Surgeons NORTON, J. A., Melcher, M. L., Gibril, F., Jensen, R. T. MOSBY-ELSEVIER. 2004: 1267–73


    Gastric carcinoid tumors occur in 15% to 50% of patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia-1/Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (MEN-1/ZES) but are thought to be benign. We report 5 patients with MEN-1/ZES with symptomatic, aggressive gastric carcinoid tumors that required surgical procedures.This was a retrospective chart review.Each patient had MEN-1/ZES. Each patient had innumerable gastric carcinoid tumors with symptoms. The fasting gastrin level was 47,000 pg/mL (normal, <200 pg/mL); the basal acid output was 79 mEq/hr (n = 3), and the age at surgical exploration was 47 +/- 6 years, with a duration of MEN-1 of 21 +/- 3 years and of ZES of 15 +/- 2 years. All patients had elevated 5-HIAA or serotonin levels. Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy showed increased stomach uptake in 4 patients (80%). Four patients had a total gastrectomy; 4 patients had lymph node metastases removed, and 3 patients had liver metastases resected. One patient who did not have a total gastrectomy had liver carcinoid metastases.These results demonstrate that gastric carcinoid tumors in patients with longstanding MEN-1/ZES may be symptomatic, aggressive, and metastasize to the liver. With increased long-term medical treatment and life expectancy, these tumors will become an important determinant of survival.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.surg.2004.06.057

    View details for Web of Science ID 000225874800046

    View details for PubMedID 15657586

  • A novel technique to treat ruptured umbilical hernias in patients with liver cirrhosis and severe ascites JOURNAL OF LAPAROENDOSCOPIC & ADVANCED SURGICAL TECHNIQUES-PART A Melcher, M. L., Lobato, R. L., Wren, S. M. 2003; 13 (5): 331-332


    The full-thickness skin erosion (rupture) of an umbilical hernia in a patient with end-stage liver disease can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Here, we present a case report of the use of a novel technique to treat a patient with this condition. The use of a fibrin-based tissue adhesive provides a means of managing such patients medically.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000185762400011

    View details for PubMedID 14617394

  • Ileocolic intussusception in an adult JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS Melcher, M. L., Safadi, B. 2003; 197 (3): 518-518
  • Identification and characterization of the CLK1 gene product, a novel CaM kinase-like protein kinase from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Melcher, M. L., Thorner, J. 1996; 271 (47): 29958-29968


    The CLK1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a 610-residue protein kinase that resembles known type II Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases (CaM kinases), including the CMK1 and CMK2 gene products from the same yeast. The Clk1 kinase domain is preceded by a 162-residue N-terminal extension, followed by a 132-residue C-terminal extension (which contains a basic segment resembling known calmodulin-binding sites) and is as similar to mammalian CaM kinase (38% identity to rat CaM kinase alpha) as it is to yeast CaM kinase (37% identity to Cmk2). However, Clk1 shares 52% identity with Rck1, another putative protein kinase encoded in the S. cerevisiae genome. Clk1 tagged with a c-myc epitope (expressed in yeast) and a GST-Clk1 fusion (expressed in bacteria) underwent autophosphorylation and phosphorylated an exogenous substrate (yeast protein synthesis elongation factor 2), primarily on Ser. Neither Clk1 activity was stimulated by purified yeast calmodulin (CMD1 gene product), with or without Ca2+; no association of Clk1 with Cmd1 was detectable by other methods. C-terminally truncated Clk1(Delta487-610) was growth-inhibitory when overexpressed, whereas catalytically inactive Clk1(K201R Delta487-610) was not, suggesting that the C terminus is a negative regulatory domain. Using immunofluorescence, Clk1 was localized to the cytosol and excluded from the nucleus. A clk1Delta mutant, a clk1Delta rck1Delta double mutant, a clk1Delta cmk1Delta cmk2Delta triple mutant, and a clk1Delta rck1Delta cmk1Delta cmk2Delta quadruple mutant were all viable and manifested no other overt growth phenotype.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1996VU52500069

    View details for PubMedID 8939941