Long-Term Survival and Predictors of Relapse After Orthotopic Liver Transplantation for Alcoholic Liver Disease

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The relevance of sobriety for outcome after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is still discussed controversially. We conducted a retrospective analysis of 300 patients transplanted for ALD with regard to recurrent alcohol consumption, risk factors for drinking after OLT, and long-term survival. The 300 patients underwent OLT for ALD between 1989 and 2002. Median follow-up was 89 months. Incidence and severity of drinking, survival rates, and causes of death were assessed. Age, gender, duration of pretransplant sobriety, social support, presence of children, and the results of psychosomatic evaluation were analyzed for their impact on recurrent alcohol consumption after OLT. Drinking of various degrees was observed in 19% of ALD patients after OLT. Pretransplant sobriety of less than 6 months, absence of companion in life, presence of young children, and a predicted poor psychosomatic prognosis were associated with an increased risk of recurrent alcohol consumption, whereas age and gender were not independent risk factors. Survival rates of patients who resumed abusive drinking were significantly lower than survival rates of abstinent patients or patients with minor lapses. Recurrent alcoholic liver disease accounted for the vast majority of deaths among patients who resumed abusive drinking after OLT, whereas malignant tumors, infections, and cardiovascular disease were the most common causes of death among abstinent patients. In conclusion, abusive drinking after OLT is associated with poor long-term survival. Analysis of risk factors may help to identify patients with a high risk for recurrent alcohol abuse after OLT. Liver Transpl, 2006. © 2006 AASLD.

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