Newswise — A liver transplant is usually the last-chance remedy for end-stage liver disease. Quality of life and/or survival rates within the first five post-transplant years, independent of the primary reason for the transplant, are similar to those for patients with other types of cirrhosis. Alcohol relapses after liver transplantation are a critical issue and severe alcohol relapse can have dire consequences. This study compares the routine post-transplant evaluation of drinking with one obtained through a specific addiction consultation.
Researchers examined existing data for 141 patients (100 men, 41 women) who received treatment at the liver transplantation center in Montpellier, France from November 2013 to November 2014. All patients were seen consecutively by their hepatologist and by an addiction specialist, and they also completed the self-administered Alcohol Use Disorder Test (AUDIT).
Results support the value of including a systematic addiction consultation among liver-transplant patients, whatever the reasons for transplantation. More specifically, current drinking was identified by the hepatologist in 31 patients (21.9%), by the AUDIT in 52 patients (36.8%), and by the addiction specialist in 58 patients (41.1%). Furthermore, the 31 patients identified by the transplant physician reported an average of 6.5-alcohol units/w, a number that was significantly greater (i.e., 8.6-units/w) when the addiction specialist interviewed the patients.