Aim: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is the most common liver disease in the Western World. Liver transplantation (LT) is the treatment for end-stage ALD. However, many transplant centers are still reluctant to transplant these patients because of the risk of alcohol relapse, recurrence of the primary liver disease and associated post-transplant complications. We examined survival rate, prevalence of primary liver disease recurrence, re-transplantation and post-transplant complications among transplanted patients for alcoholic cirrhosis compared with those transplanted for viral cirrhosis.
Methods: data about patients transplanted for alcoholic and viral cirrhosis at the Gemelli Hospital from January 1995 to April 2016 were retrospectively collected. Survival rate was evaluated according to the Kaplan-Meier method. Recurrence was defined as histological evidence of primary liver disease. Data on the onset of complication, causes of death and graft failure after liver transplant were analyzed.
Results: There was no statistically significant difference regarding survival rate between the two groups. Only patients transplanted for viral cirrhosis presented with primary liver disease recurrence. There was a higher rate of cancer development in patients transplanted for alcoholic cirrhosis. Cancer was the major cause of death in this population. Risk factors associated with the onset of cancer were a high MELD score at the transplant time and smoking after transplantation.
Conclusion: ALD is a good indication for LT. Patients transplanted for alcoholic cirrhosis should receive regular cancer screening and should be advised against smoking.
Short Summary: No difference was found between patients transplanted for alcoholic cirrhosis and viral cirrhosis in term of survival rate. Only patients transplanted for viral cirrhosis presented primary liver disease recurrence. A higher rate of cancer development was found in patients transplanted for alcoholic cirrohosis. This complication was associated with post-trasplant smoking.
- Journal Article