Orthotopic liver transplantation for patients with end-stage alcohol-related liver disease and severe acute alcohol-related hepatitis

Minerva Surg. 2021 Oct;76(5):444-449. doi: 10.23736/S2724-5691.20.08685-X. Epub 2021 Jan 12.


Worldwide, cirrhosis due to alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) is responsible for 0.9% of global deaths and 47.9% of cirrhosis-related deaths. End-stage ALD (ESALD) is the final condition of alcohol-related cirrhosis, and severe acute alcohol-related hepatitis (SAAH) is a distinct clinical syndrome associated with the consumption of large amounts of alcohol. In some cases, ESALD, and SAAH may need liver transplantation (LT). The severity of ESALD can improve after a few months (three months) of abstinence from alcohol, avoiding or delaying the need for LT. Conversely, patients with ESALD with a poor prognosis (MELD≥15) may be candidates for LT after three months of abstinence; in these patients, the 6 months rule needs to be revised. In addition, in non-responders to steroid therapy, the indication for early LT in patients with SAAH and acute on chronic liver failure (ACLF) due to alcohol use find indication in carefully selected patients (those with good insight into their alcohol problems and good social support). Thus, the role of a multi-disciplinary team of experts in the management of alcohol use disorder, ESALD and SAAH working in the same institution, the support of the patient's family and self-help groups represent a crucial approach in the reinforcement of motivation to abstain from alcohol, and in helping patients to avoid relapses in heavy drinking when entered in an LT program.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism* / complications
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic
  • Liver Transplantation*