Liver transplantation in alcoholic patients


Dr Patrizia Burra, Liver Gastroenterology Transplantation, Department of Surgical and Gastroenterological Sciences, University Hospital, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy. Tel.: +39-049-8212892; fax: +39-049-8760820; e-mail:


Alcoholic liver disease is one of the most common causes of cirrhosis and indications for orthotopic liver transplantation in Europe and North America. The reluctance to transplant alcoholics stems in part from the view that alcoholics bear responsibility for their illness. There is also the perception that the alcoholic person is likely to relapse into alcohol use after transplantation and thereby damage the allograft.

In this review, we considered the evaluation for and outcome of liver transplantation in alcoholics with special attention to the specific risks of alcohol relapse, to show that alcoholism should be considered like other co-morbid states rather than as a moral flaw.