Alcoholic liver disease is a major indication for liver transplantation in the United States.
However, factors predicting alcohol relapse after liver transplantation are poorly defined.
In this study, doctors from Scotland and the United States identified predictors of alcohol relapse in patients undergoing liver transplantation for alcoholic liver disease.
The team identified 111 eligible patients.
The patients were selected for liver transplantation if their risk of relapse was felt to be low by the transplant team.
The team conducted a chart review to determine if relapse had occurred, the presence or absence of factors that were thought to predict relapse, and survival.
The doctors found that the median duration of abstinence before liver transplantation was 15 months.
They also found that 64% had hepatitis C virus infection.
|15% of patients returned to alcohol use.|
The team established that 38% of patients had a family history of alcoholism in a first-degree relative and that 78% had received treatment for alcoholism before liver transplantation.
The mean duration of follow-up was 44.1 months.
During follow-up 15% of patients returned to alcohol use.
The team determined that a family history of alcoholism was an independent predictor of alcohol relapse.
Dr Sameer Jauhar's team concluded, "Further prospective studies are needed to examine this association in greater detail to provide targeted treatment for alcoholism both before and after liver transplantation".