Excessive alcohol consumption after liver transplantation impacts on long-term survival, whatever the primary indication

Stéphanie Faure, Astrid Herrero, Boris Jung, Yohan Duny, Jean-Pierre Daures, Thibaut Mura, Eric Assenat, Michaël Bismuth, Hassan Bouyabrine, Hélène Donnadieu-Rigole, Francis Navarro, Samir Jaber, Dominique Larrey, Georges-Philippe Pageaux
Journal of Hepatology 2012, 57 (2): 306-12

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Beyond 5 years, poorer survival, related to alcohol relapse, is observed in patients with liver transplant for alcohol-related liver disease (ALD). However, alcohol consumption has been significantly understudied in non-ALD transplant recipients. We aimed at analyzing the impact of alcohol consumption on long-term survival irrespective of the indication for transplantation.

METHODS: This observational study included consecutive adult recipients of a primary liver graft between 1991 and 2007 in our hospital, who survived >6 months. Patients without ALD as primary indication, but with a history of excessive alcohol consumption before transplantation, were classified as secondary indication ALD. We studied the impact on survival of excessive consumption of alcohol after transplantation and several other variables.

RESULTS: The 441 patients had mean follow-up of 81.7 months. Among the 281 patients with excessive alcohol consumption before transplantation, 206 had ALD as primary indication. After transplantation, alcohol consumption was reported by 32.3% of the study population, 43.7% in primary indication ALD, and 24.3% in non-ALD patients. Survival was 82% at 5 years and 49% at 10 years for patients with excessive alcohol relapse, compared with 86% and 75%, respectively, for patients without persistent excessive alcohol relapse. By multivariable analysis, the independent risk factors of death were: excessive alcohol relapse, age >51 years, post-transplantation diabetes mellitus, cyclosporine-based immunosuppression, and non-hepatic cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: Excessive alcohol consumption has a negative impact on long-term survival after liver transplant, irrespective of the primary indication. Death is mainly due to recurrence of liver disease and non-hepatic cancer.

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