The impact of acute alcoholic hepatitis in the explanted recipient liver on outcome after liver transplantation

Jennifer T Wells, Adnan Said, Rashmi Agni, Santiago Tome, Sarah Hughes, Parul Dureja, Michael R Lucey
Liver Transplantation 2007, 13 (12): 1728-35
Patients with clinical acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH) are not considered suitable candidates for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The histological correlates of AAH are often seen in the explanted liver at the time of transplantation. The importance of these findings remains inconclusive regarding their role as a prognostic marker for patient or allograft health. Our aim was to examine the explanted liver of patients with purely alcoholic liver disease (ALD) for findings of histologic AAH and to correlate these to patient and graft outcomes. We compared patients with and without histological AAH with patients transplanted for non-ALD. Of 1,097 liver transplant recipients, 148 had ALD and 125 were non-ALD control patients with similar demographics. Thirty-two of 148 ALD patients had histologic AAH, and 116 had bland alcoholic cirrhosis (BAC). Twenty-eight percent of the ALD patients reported <6 months abstinence, and 54% reported <12 months abstinence. There was a statistically significant relationship between the presence of histologic AAH and abstinence durations<12 months (P=0.009), but not <6 months. Overall, posttransplantation patient and graft survival between the ALD and non-ALD groups was not significantly different (P=0.53). Furthermore, patient and graft survival between ALD patients with histologic AAH and BAC were similar (P=0.13 and P=0.11, respectively). The rate of posttransplantation relapse among ALD patients was 16%; however, there was no increase in graft loss, nor was there decreased survival compared with controls. The patients with histologic AAH and those with BAC had no differences in posttransplantation relapse (P=0.13). In multivariate analysis, patient and graft survival was not influenced by pretransplantation abstinence or posttransplantation relapse. In conclusion, histological alcoholic hepatitis in the explant did not predict worse outcome regarding relapse, and allograft or patient survival for liver transplant recipients. Caution should be exercised when liver histology is used to discriminate among suitable candidates for OLT concerning alcoholic patients.

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