The MELD score has now been implemented in the United States for liver allocation, but it has not been validated in Europe. Its association with posttransplant outcome is unclear. Optimal cutoff values of MELD and Child-Pugh scores to predict death on the liver waiting list were defined in a series of 137 cirrhotic patients listed for liver transplantation. Six-month actuarial survival while on the waiting list was 90% with a Child-Pugh <11 and MELD <17, whereas it decreased progressively to 40% at 6 months after listing for those having a Child-Pugh and MELD score >10 and >16. Analysis of a series of 112 patients (85 chronic liver disease and 27 hepatocellular carcinoma) revealed no change in MELD value at the time of transplantation compared to the score at the time of listing (mean +/- SD: 15.5 +/- 7.7 vs 15 +/- 5.8) with a mean waiting time of 118 days. Using either the optimal cutoff for MELD score (<17 or >16) or seven different strata (3 to 7, 8 to 10, 11 to 13, 14 to 16, 17 to 19, 20 to 22, 23 to 39), whether measured at listing or just before liver transplantation, there was no significant difference (chi(2) 4.97, P = .58) in survival: 82.7% and 63% at 6 and 60 months, overall. Our data confirm that the MELD score with only three parameters is as good as the Child-Pugh score to predict mortality on the Eurotransplant waiting list. The optimal cutoff to assess higher priority for the bad category is >16. There was no negative impact on short- or long-term prognosis of the bad categories of MELD.