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eISSN: 2329-0358

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Alcohol Use Relapse Following Liver Transplantation for Alcoholic Liver Disease

Lubomir Skladany, Svetlana Adamcova Selcanova, Tomas Koller

(HEGITO (Division Hepatology, Gastroenterology and Liver Transplantation) of Department of Internal Medicine II, Faculty of Medicine, Slovak Medical University, FD Roosevelt Hospital, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia)

Ann Transplant 2019; 24:359-366

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.914690


BACKGROUND: Alcohol use disorders affect 10% of the European population. Alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) is the most common indication for liver transplantation in Slovakia. The aim of this study was to determine the proportion of patients with ALD who received a liver transplant who had alcohol relapsed, and the risk factors for alcohol relapse, as well as to compare clinical outcomes according to relapse.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective study of consecutive patients with ALD, who underwent liver transplantation in a single transplant center between May 2008 and December 2017. We included adult patients who received a liver transplant due to ALD and excluded those who died <1 month after liver transplantation. We recorded demographic and clinical characteristics, graft injury, and overall mortality and compared them between relapsers and abstainers.
RESULTS: During the study period, we reviewed 196 cases of liver transplantation in 191 patients. We excluded 87 patients for non-ALD etiology and 15 patients by predefined criteria. The final analysis was carried out in 89 patients, mean aged 55 years; 24.7% were female. We diagnosed relapse in 23 patients (26%) with harmful drinking in 52% and occasional drinking in 48% of relapsers. The independent risk factors associated with relapse were: smoking (OR=5.92, P=0.006), loss of social status (OR=7.61, P=0.002), and time after liver transplantation (OR=1.0008, P=0.015). Graft injury was more frequent in relapsers with 2 independent risk factors: occasional drinking (OR=12.7, P=0.0005), and harmful drinking (OR=36.6, P<0.0001); overall survival was unaffected.
CONCLUSIONS: We found relapse to alcohol drinking in 26% of patients who received a liver transplant for ALD. Risk factors associated with alcohol drinking relapse were time, cigarette smoking, and loss of social status. Graft injury was more frequent in relapsers, but mortality was similar between relapsers and non-relapsers.

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