Long-term follow-up of patients diagnosed with alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse who were evaluated for liver transplantation

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Abstract

The selection of patients with cirrhosis and the diagnosis of alcohol dependence or abuse who have a long-term high probability of abstinence after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) may enhance patient survival and outcomes. The aim of this study is to identify factors that would predict which patients would consume alcohol after OLT. Sixty-one patients with a history of alcohol dependence or abuse underwent OLT from June 1989 to June 1994 and were followed up monthly for a median of 6.9 years after OLT (range, 2.5 to 9.3 years). Survival analysis techniques (Cox proportional hazard model) were used to identify patients at high risk for recidivism. Recidivism occurred in 12 of 61 patients (20%) after OLT during follow-up. Noncompliance, with a relative hazard of 20.9 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.6 to 78.3; P < .001), and personality disorder, with a relative hazard of 6.0 (95% CI, 1.9 to 18.7; P = .002), independently predicted recidivism among patients who underwent OLT. These data indicate that specific behaviors and psychiatric diagnoses can be used to select patients at high risk for drinking alcohol before and after OLT.

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