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Alcohol Alcohol. 2006 May-Jun;41(3):278-83. Epub 2006 Feb 13.

Predictors of relapse to harmful alcohol after orthotopic liver transplantation.

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  • 1Alcohol Problems Service, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Scotland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

End-stage alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a common indication for liver transplantation. Outcomes may be limited by return to harmful drinking. Previous studies have identified few predictors of drinking relapse.

AIM:

This study examined novel postulated predictors of relapse to drinking.

METHOD:

The case notes of all patients transplanted for ALD at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital from 1987-2004 were reviewed. Pre-transplant characteristics were rated by a psychiatrist independent of the transplant team, blind to the outcome. Outcomes were rated by a second independent alcohol treatment specialist also blind to the pre-transplant ratings.

RESULTS:

Of 100 patients, 6 died before discharge from hospital, 4 had <6 months follow-up, 18 relapsed to harmful drinking, 10 drank below harmful levels, and 62 remained abstinent after a mean of 5.6 years follow-up. Univariate analyses identified six potential pre-transplant predictors of return to harmful drinking. These were a diagnosis of mental illness (of which all cases were of depression), the lack of a stable partner, grams per day consumed in the years before assessment for transplant, reliance on 'family or friends' for post-transplant support, tobacco consumption at time of assessment, and lack of insight into the alcohol aetiology. Duration of pre-transplant abstinence and social class by occupation did not predict relapse. A multivariate model based on the above characteristics correctly predicted 89% of the outcomes.

CONCLUSION:

A model based on readily defined behaviours and psychosocial factors predicted relapse to harmful drinking after transplant for ALD. This model may improve assessment and post-transplant management of patients with advanced ALD.

PMID:
16476764
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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