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Authors Rice JP, Lucey MR
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Journal Curr Opin Organ Transplant Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Pages: 259-64
Publish Date 2013 Jun
PubMed ID 23492643

For patients with alcoholic liver disease, most liver transplant programs enforce a mandatory period of sustained abstinence prior to considering transplant. The ‘6-month’ rule may eliminate potentially acceptable transplant candidates from a lifesaving procedure. This review focuses on the use of sobriety length as a determinant of transplant candidacy and as a predictor of future alcohol use. We will also review the use of liver transplant in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis, and the impact of alcohol use on posttransplant outcomes.Patients with alcoholic hepatitis that underwent transplantation had an increased survival when compared with controls. Alcohol relapse after transplantation was infrequent. Similarly, a United Network for Organ Sharing database review revealed similar survival in patients transplanted for alcoholic hepatitis versus alcoholic cirrhosis. Allograft loss due to alcohol use was not seen. However, alcohol usage after transplantation has been associated with a lower long-term survival in both alcoholic and nonalcoholic recipients.The 6-month rule is insufficient in predicting relapse risk. Liver transplantation may be lifesaving in cases of alcoholic hepatitis and inflexible sobriety rules may eliminate patients from transplant consideration at a low risk of relapse. An ongoing alcohol use assessment, both pre- and posttransplant, are critical to achieving good long-term outcomes. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System