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Authors Lucey MR
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Journal Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol Volume: 11 Issue: 5 Pages: 300-7
Publish Date 2014 May
PubMed ID 24393837

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is the major cause of life-threatening liver disease in Western countries. Abstinence from alcohol is the foundation of all treatment programmes for patients with ALD. Liver transplantation is a valuable option for patients with life-threatening ALD. Although the role of liver transplantation in the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis that is unresponsive to medical therapy is controversial, the latest prospective studies support this approach. No single measure gives a reliable estimate of the risk of drinking relapses before or after liver transplantation, but careful evaluation by an addiction specialist with a particular interest in transplant medicine is the best available approach. Survival, both on the waiting list and after the operation, is better in patients with ALD than in patients with HCV infection. Alcohol relapse may lead to liver damage and increased mortality, albeit usually after many years of renewed drinking. After liver transplantation, patients with ALD have increased rates of mortality and morbidity that are attributable to cardiovascular disease and new-onset cancers of the aerodigestive tract. The latter are probably linked to the high prevalence of smoking in this population. Cessation of smoking is thus an important goal in the care of patients with ALD after they have undergone liver transplantation. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System