Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jul;103(7):1698-706. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2008.01837.x. Epub 2008 May 20.

Alcohol consumption by cirrhotic subjects: patterns of use and effects on liver function.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin 53792-5124, USA.



We investigated patterns of use of alcohol and its clinical effects among cirrhotic subjects who participated in a randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy of transjugular intravenous portosystemic shunt and distal splenorenal shunt.


There were 132 cirrhotic subjects, 78 with alcoholic liver disease (ALD), who were followed for a median of 49 months (range 2-93 months). Alcohol use was assessed by patient questionnaire, with corroboration by family members.


Twenty-eight subjects (21%) were drinking at study entry and 60 subjects (45%) drank during follow-up. Heavy drinking (>4 drinks/day) was recorded in 25 ALD subjects, but in no non-ALD subjects (P < 0.0001). Drinking by ALD subjects was associated with a 153% increase in gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) (P < 0.0001). The frequencies of death (46%vs 30%), ascites (33%vs 20%), encephalopathy (56%vs 42%), and variceal bleeding (11%vs 3%) were greater in the ALD group. In a Cox proportional hazards model only "ever heavy drinking" was associated with death (P= 0.0099), while recent heavy drinking increased the hazard of variceal hemorrhage dramatically (odds ratio 10.85).


Whereas most cirrhotic subjects, alcoholic or not, did not drink during 5 yr of observation, heavy alcohol use occurred exclusively in ALD patients. Alcohol use by ALD subjects was associated with elevations in GGT and was linked to death and with rebleeding from shunt dysfunction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk