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Heavy drinking endangers the health of liver transplants

Alcoholic liver disease is a major indication for liver transplantation, but up to 20% of patients experience severe alcoholic relapse. New research shows that such relapse can cause significant damage to newly transplanted livers.

The results strongly reinforce the need for early alcohol assessments after liver transplantation and multidisciplinary interventions to help patients maintain abstinence.

“As observed and described extensively for hepatitis C virus reinfection, liver graft damage occurs very rapidly after alcohol relapse, leading to cirrhosis in a significant proportion of patients, and therefore complications of cirrhosis and death,” said Dr. Jerome Dumortier, senior author of the Liver Transplantation study.

Article: Severe alcoholic relapse after liver transplantation: What consequences on the graft? A study based on liver biopsies analysis, Erard-Poinsot, D., Guillaud, O., Hervieu, V., Thimonier, E., Vallin, M., Chambon-Augoyard, C., Boillot, O., Scoazec, J.-Y. and Dumortier, J., Liver Transplantation, doi:10.1002/lt.24425, published online 1 March 2016.