Alcohol relapse can negatively influence the outcome after liver transplantation (LT). The aim of our study was to identify factors that could be associated with the recurrence of harmful alcohol consumption after LT.
A total of 387 consecutive patients (23.8% women) who underwent LT for alcoholic cirrhosis in Geneva, Switzerland, and Lyon, France, between 1989 and 2005 were evaluated. Mean ± SD age was 51.3 ± 7.5 years. Follow-up time was 61.2 ± 47.5 months. Alcohol consumption relapse and potential factors associated with it were studied.
The relapse rate of harmful alcohol consumption after LT was 11.9%. In univariate analysis, alcohol relapse was significantly associated with age greater than 50 years (P = .04), year of LT 1995 or earlier (P<.05), duration of abstinence less than 6 months (P = .02), presence of psychiatric comorbidities (P<.001), presence of a life partner (P<.05), and a high score on the High-Risk Alcoholism Relapse (HRAR) scale (P<.001). Multivariate logistic regression disclosed the following independent factors of relapse: duration of abstinence of less than 6 months (odds ratio [OR], 3.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-9.3) (P = .02); presence of psychiatric comorbidities (OR, 7.8; 95% CI, 3.1-20.0) (P<.001); and HRAR score higher than 3 (OR, 10.7; 95% CI, 3.8-30.0) (P = .001). In patients with none of these factors, alcohol relapse was 5%, while the presence of 1, 2, or 3 factors was associated with relapse rates of 18%, 64%, and 100% of the patients, respectively.
In a large cohort of patients undergoing LT for alcoholic cirrhosis, a duration of abstinence of less than 6 months before wait-listing for LT, the presence of psychiatric comorbidities, or an HRAR score higher than 3 was associated with relapse into harmful drinking. The presence of more than 1 factor dramatically increased this risk over 50%. In the pre-LT evaluation in this setting, these factors should be accurately determined.