Alcohol use after liver transplantation is independent of liver disease etiology

Kirk B. Russ, Nai Wei Chen, Patrick S. Kamath, Vijay H. Shah, Yong Fang Kuo, Ashwani K. Singal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Aim: To assess alcohol use after liver transplantation (LT) and compare liver transplant recipients for alcoholic liver disease (ALD) with recipients for non-ALD causes.Methods: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases liver transplant database stratified to ALD and non-ALD causes.Results: Among 488 LT recipients reporting pre-transplant alcohol use (147 ALD), proportion of LT recipients reporting alcohol use was similar comparing ALD and non-ALD transplants (25.4% vs. 27.2%; P = 0.56). Among ALD transplants, of 31 with alcohol use, 23 (74%) relapsed at ≥2 year, 25 (80%) reported intermittent drinking and 4 (13%) reported heavy drinking. Among Non-ALD recipients, alcohol use was equally distributed to within 2, 2-5 and after 5 years of LT with 82% reporting intermittent drinking and 9% heavy drinking. Patients with pre-transplant drinking of >20 years and abstinence duration of <2 years were over 2.5-fold likely to report post-transplant alcohol use compared to drinking of >20 years and abstinence of >2 years, 2.56 [95% CI: 1.41-4.67]. Etiology (ALD vs. non-ALD) did not predict post-transplant alcohol use. Of 139 ALD patients with follow-up biopsy data, 13 (7 with post-transplant alcohol use) had steatohepatitis. Histology on 319 non-ALD recipients showed recurrent disease in 91, none due to alcohol. Overall survival was similar between drinkers and abstainers (71% vs. 66%; P = 0.35). Recurrent ALD was cause of death in one ALD and none of non-ALD patients.Conclusion: Alcohol use after LT is independent of LT indication. Patients with non-ALD etiology should be carefully screened for alcohol use prior to LT to identify those at risk for post-LT alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberagw032
Pages (from-to)698-701
Number of pages4
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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