Liver Transplant for Alcohol-Related Liver Disease in U.S.

Bottom Line: The proportion of liver transplants in the United States for alcohol-associated liver disease increased between 2002 and 2016, with much of the increase associated with a decrease in liver transplant for hepatitis C virus infection because of antiviral therapy. This observational study used data from the United Network for Organ Sharing for all liver transplants during the 15-year period and the national study group consisted of nearly 33,000 patients, including 9,438 patients with a diagnosis of alcohol-associated liver disease. Study findings suggest five-year survival after transplant was lower in patients with alcohol-associated liver disease. Authors suggest the increase in liver transplants for alcohol-associated liver disease may be related to changing attitudes about the length of sobriety needed for a transplant. The study relied on registry data so any conclusions are by association and not causal. Regional differences suggest dissimilar policies for liver transplant for alcohol-associated liver disease.

Authors: Norah A. Terrault, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and coauthors