Availability of PEth testing is associated with reduced eligibility for liver transplant among patients with alcohol-related liver disease

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Clinical transplantation


BACKGROUND: Serum phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a highly sensitive test to detect alcohol use. We evaluated whether the availability of PEth testing impacted rates of liver transplant evaluation terminations and delistings.

METHODS: Medical record data were collected for patients who initiated transplant evaluation due to alcohol-related liver disease in the pre-PEth (2017) or PEth (2019) eras. Inverse probability weighting (IPW) was used to balance baseline patient characteristics. Outcomes included termination of evaluation or delisting due to alcohol use; patients were censored at receipt of transplant; death was considered a competing risk. The Fine-Gray method was performed to determine whether PEth testing affected risk of evaluation termination/ delisting due to alcohol use.

RESULTS: Three hundred and seventy-five patients with alcohol-related indications for transplant (157 in 2017; 210 in 2019) were included. The final IPW-adjusted model for the composite outcome of terminations/delisting due to alcohol use retained two significant variables (P < .05): PEth era and BMI category. Patients evaluated during the PEth era were almost three times more likely to experience an alcohol-related termination/delisting than those in the pre-PEth era (sHR = 2.86; 95%CI 1.67-4.97).

CONCLUSION: We found that availability of PEth testing at our institution was associated with a higher rate of exclusion of patients from eligibility for liver transplant. Use of PEth testing has significant potential to inform decisions regarding transplant candidacy for patients with alcohol-related liver disease.

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ePub ahead of print

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