Alcohol consumption patterns and predictors of use following liver transplantation for alcoholic liver disease



For patients who receive a liver transplant (LTX) for alcoholic liver disease (ALD), investigators are focusing beyond survival to determine specific alcohol use outcomes. Studies suggest the use of alcohol ranges from 8 to 22% for the first post-transplant year with cumulative rates reaching 30 to 40% by 5 years following transplantation. Yet while investigators are interested in determining specific rates of alcohol use and predictors of use, only three studies since 1990 have been prospective. In 1998, we began a prospective study of post-LTX alcohol consumption in ALD recipients using multiple repeated measures of alcohol use. After 5 years of follow-up, we found that 22% had used any alcohol by the first year and 42% had a drink by 5 years. By 5 years, 26% drank at a heavier use (binge) pattern and 20% drank in a frequent pattern. In a univariate model, predictors of alcohol use included pre-transplant length of sobriety, a diagnosis of alcohol dependence, a history of other substance use, and prior alcohol rehabilitation. Liver Transpl 12:813–820, 2006. © 2006 AASLD.