Dr Miguet and colleagues from France undertook a study to determine whether sociological and/or alcohol-related behavioral factors could be predictive of relapse after orthotopic liver transplantation for alcoholic liver disease.
The research team enrolled 55 liver-transplanted patients out of a series of 120 alcoholic cirrhotic patients in this randomized prospective study.
The researchers designed the study to compare the 2 year survival in intent-to-transplant patients versus in-intent-to-use conventional treatment patients.
All patients completed an identical questionnaire that the researchers had distributed at the time of inclusion, and then every 3 months for 5 years to collect data on alcohol-related behavior factors.
|The researchers found that the rate of alcohol relapse was 11% at 1 year and 30% at 2 years|
|Gastroenterologie Clinique et Biologique|
In total, the researchers received data from 51 patients who had fulfilled the criteria for the study.
The team followed-up participants for a mean time of 35.7 months.
The researchers found that the rate of alcohol relapse was 11% at 1 year and 30% at 2 years.
Alcohol intake above 140 g a week was declared by 11% and 22% of patients at 1 and 2 years, respectively.
The researchers found that the only variable leading to a significantly lower rate of relapse was abstinence for 6 months or more before liver transplantation ,23% vs 79%.
The team noted that this variable was also significant for patients whose alcohol intake was greater than 140 g per week.
Using multivariate analysis (Cox model), the researchers were able to show that abstinence for 6 months or more before liver transplantation was the unique predictive variable.
Dr Miguet concluded, "In this prospective study of 51 patients transplanted for alcoholic liver disease, abstinence before liver transplantation was the only predictive factor of alcohol relapse after liver transplantation."