Posttransplant Complications Predict Alcohol Relapse in Liver Transplant Recipients

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Liver Transplantation


Alcohol relapse after liver transplantation (LT) in patients with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) is a major challenge. Although its association with pretransplant psychosocial factors was extensively studied, the impacts of posttransplant courses on alcohol relapse have not been well investigated. The aim of this study is to analyze peritransplant factors associated with posttransplant alcohol relapse in patients with ALD. This study evaluated 190 adult LT patients with ALD from 2013 to 2019. Risk factors for alcohol relapse were analyzed, focusing on posttransplant chronic complications, which were classified as Clavien-Dindo classification 3a or higher that lasted over 30 days. The posttransplant alcohol relapse rate was 13.7% (26/190) with a median onset time of 18.6 months after transplant. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that posttransplant chronic complications were an independent risk factor for posttransplant alcohol relapse (hazard ratio [HR], 5.40; P = 0.001), along with psychiatric comorbidity (HR, 3.93; P = 0.001), history of alcohol relapse before LT (HR, 3.00; P = 0.008), and an abstinence period <1.5 years (HR, 12.05; P = 0.001). A risk prediction model was created using 3 pretransplant risk factors (psychiatric comorbidity, alcohol relapse before LT, and abstinence period <1.5 years). This model clearly stratified the risk of alcohol relapse into high-, moderate-, and low-risk groups (P < 0.001). Of the 26 patients who relapsed, 11 (42.3%) continued drinking, of whom 3 died of severe alcoholic hepatitis, and 13 (50.0%) achieved sobriety (outcomes for 2 patients were unknown). In conclusion, posttransplant chronic complications increased the risk of alcohol relapse. Recognition of posttransplant chronic complications in conjunction with the risk stratification model by pretransplant psychosocial factors would help with the prediction of posttransplant alcohol relapse.

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