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Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the rate of alcohol recidivism after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and its influence on the allograft and patient survival, as well as the development of comorbidities and de novo cancers. The study was performed on 54 subjects previously analyzed and transplanted in our center for ALD, whose follow-up was prolonged to a mean of 99.2 (SD 31.7) months (range, 14–155). Medical records were reviewed, and data on alcohol consumption, therapeutic compliance, graft evolution, rejection, infections, comorbidities, rates of de novo malignancies and other clinical events, and survival were collected. Comparisons between groups were performed by the Fisher's exact test, and survival was assessed by the Kaplan-Meier method. Survival curves were compared using the Mantel-Cox statistic. The risk of death resulting from alcohol recidivism was analyzed with a Cox proportional hazards model. Fourteen patients who underwent transplantation for ALD (25.9%) returned to alcohol use between 5.0 and 86.9 months after OLT (median, 47.5). There was no significant association between the presence or absence of alcohol recidivism and the occurrence of graft rejection, infections, associated comorbidities after OLT, or compliance. The 5- and 10-year survival rates for patients with alcohol recidivism were 92.9% and 45.1%, respectively, compared with 92.4% and 85.5%, respectively, for patients without alcohol recidivism. These figures show significantly lower survival rates in recidivistic patients after 10 years (P < 0.01, Mantel-Cox). The fact that patients who resumed alcohol consumption have a worse 10-year survival rate might be attributed to a higher frequency of deaths, primarily from cancer and cardiovascular events. (Liver Transpl 2005;11:420–426.)