Alcohol relapse adversely affects 10-year liver transplant survival

A new study on how alcohol relapse affects survival rates after liver transplants found that it adversely affected survival rates only after 10 years. The decrease in survival rates may, however, be due to other alcohol-related diseases.

The results of this study appear in the April 2005 issue of Liver Transplantation, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS). The journal is published on behalf of the societies by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/livertransplantation.

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is the second most common indication for liver transplants in the U.S. and Europe. Although reported survival rates after transplantation were similar between alcoholics and non-alcoholics (up to 60 percent at 7 years following transplant), concerns about alcohol relapse post-transplant have made the practice somewhat controversial, especially in light of the shortage of donor organs. To offset this risk, it is common practice to establish a 6 month period of abstinence from alcohol before listing a patient for liver transplant. Not only may improvement in liver function result, but higher rates of relapse have been reported in patients who have abstained for less than 6 months before undergoing transplantation. Although several previous studies analyzed the rate of alcohol relapse after liver transplantation and its influence on patient survival and transplant success, researchers had previously not studied patients for a longer follow-up period.

Led by Antonio Cuadrado, M.D. of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit of the University Hospital "Marqus de Valdecilla" in Santander, Spain, the study expanded on a 1977 study involving 44 patients who underwent liver transplants for ALD an

Contact: David Greenberg
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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