Is alcoholic hepatitis an indication for transplantation? Current management and outcomes

Philippe Mathurin
Liver Transplantation 2005, (11): S21-4
1. In the absence of treatment, 50% of patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis (AH) [Maddrey function (DF) >or= 32] die 2 months later. Among patients with severe AH treated by corticosteroids, 80% had 2-month survival. Pentoxifylline is considered by some investigators to be an alternative option to corticosteroids. 2. Non-responders to corticosteroids (NRCs) have poor survival and require new strategies. Liver transplantation should be considered in order to improve survival of non-responders to therapeutic agents. 3. Prognostic models such as the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) and DF are useful tools for predicting short-term mortality of patients with severe AH. Specific models taking into account the particular settings of treated patients are warranted. 4. In an era of organ shortage, use of liver transplants in patients with severe AH may negatively affect the public attitude on transplantation and organ donation, and may cause reluctance on the part of clinicians to modify guidelines for alcoholic patients. 5. Therefore, a reasonable approach would be to carry out only pilot studies on only a small cohort of patients to determine whether transplantation improves survival in patients with severe AH.

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