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A study has shown that liver transplant patients who undergo substance abuse treatment before and after transplantation have significantly lower relapse rates, compared with patients who have not received treatment or are only treated before transplantation.
The results of the study were published in the journal Liver Transplantation.
Researchers from The Transplant Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, conducted a study involving 118 patients who had undergone liver transplantation.
Of these, 52% had a history of alcohol abuse and had received treatment for substance abuse before undergoing the procedure.
Results of the study showed that 16% of patients who had a history of alcohol abuse, and who received substance abuse treatments before and after transplantation, demonstrated alcohol relapse.
This is compared with 45% of patients who had substance abuse treatment before transplantation, and 41% of patients who had no treatment.
Dr. James Rodrigue, of The Transplant Institute and lead author of the study, says:
"While many transplant centers require candidates with a history of alcohol abuse to attend substance abuse treatment prior to transplantation, our findings emphasize the importance of continued therapy after the transplant to prevent alcohol relapse."
In a separate study, also published in Liver Transplantation, researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that excessive alcohol consumption following liver transplantation, as a result of alcoholic liver disease (ALD), is linked to reduced graft survival and increased organ scarring (fibrosis).
The research team found that of the 300 patients who had received liver transplants as a result of ALD who survived at least 1 year, 16% experienced alcohol relapse.
Of these, 5.3% submitted to continuous heavy drinking. These patients showed increased allograft loss and reduced graft survival, compared with patients who had not continued heavy drinking, described as "alcohol use without any periods of sobriety."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcoholic liver disease alone caused 15,990 deaths in the US in 2010.
Dr. John Rice, of the University of Wisconsin and study author, notes that taking the current shortage of available donor livers into consideration, their study shows that patients need to look after their liver following transplantation:
"Our study highlights the need for ongoing assessments of alcohol use as part of post-transplant care. Given the shortage of available donor livers, maintaining sobriety is critical to maximizing organ use and patient outcomes following transplantation."
Earlier this year, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that drug-induced liver injury is increasing.
Written by Honor Whiteman
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
Substance abuse treatment and its association with relapse to alcohol use after liver transplantation, James R. Rodrigue, Douglas W. Hanto, Michael P. Curry, DOI: 10.1002/lt.23747, published in Liver Transplantation, 3 October 2013, abstract
Abusive drinking post-liver transplant is associated with allograft loss and advanced allograft fibrosis, John P. Rice MD, Jens Eickhoff PhD, Rashmi Agni M.D, Aiman Ghufran MD ,Rinjal Brahmbhatt MD, Michael R. Lucey MD, DOI: 10.1002/lt.23762, published in Liver Transplantation, 3 October 2013, abstract
Visit our Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs category page for the latest news on this subject.
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12 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266995>
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