An Australian surgeon has created a computer program that determines the likelihood of success of a liver transplant before operation takes place in the same way a famous matchmaking site allows users to find their match. When used with patient history as well as the doctor’s diagnosis, the new program allows a more accurate depiction of the procedure.
The program, developed by Austin Health trainee surgeon Lawrence Lau, was inspired by eHarmony, an online dating website meant to match single men and women with each other. Lau’s program uses the top 15 known factors at the time of transplant to determine the early success of liver donation.
Based on the findings, the algorithm can determine the graft failure a month after the liver transplant was percent around 84 percent of the time. In comparison, surgeons can only predict graft failure 68 percent of the time. “When we do the organ retrieval we look at the liver, we feel it with our hands, but ultimately a lot of clinical decisions are based on gut feeling,” said Lau. “At the moment there is not a lot that guides the question of who you give the organ to, other than blood group and the urgency the transplant is required.”
Lau added that the method can also give those whose first attempt at transplants failed a second chance. The researcher pointed out that this can also maximize the use or resources. Moreover, the research team says that the same method can also be used to improve the success of other medical operations, such as cancer diagnosis and treatment. All of the results have already been published journal Transplantation.
The research team also said that further analysis of the program algorithm is still needed. Currently, the researchers are planning to continue validating the program before they can finally use it in regular medical procedures.