For patients receiving liver transplants for alcoholic liver disease, investigators are focusing beyond survival to determine specific alcohol use outcomes.
Studies suggest the use of alcohol ranges from 8% to 22% for the first post-transplant year.
Cumulative rates of alcohol consumption reach 30% to 40% by 5 years following transplantation.
Yet while investigators are interested in determining specific rates of alcohol use and predictors of use, only 3 studies since 1990 have been prospective.
Dr Andrea DiMartini and colleagues from Pittsburgh began a prospective study of post-liver transplant alcohol use in alcoholic liver disease patients in 1998.
The investigative team used multiple repeated measures of alcohol use.
|42% of the patients had a drink by 5 years post-liver transplant|
After follow-up, the team found that 22% had used any alcohol by the first year and 42% had a drink by 5 years.
By 5 years, 26% drank at a heavier use, and 20% drank in a frequent pattern.
Dr DiMartini's team commented, “Alcohol consumption increases over time post-liver transplant in alcoholic liver disease patients.”
“In a univariate model, predictors of alcohol use included pre-transplant length of sobriety, a diagnosis of alcohol dependence, a history of other substance use, and prior alcohol rehabilitation.”