Long-term survival after liver transplantation for alcohol-related liver disease in the Nordic countries

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2023 Mar 5;1-8. doi: 10.1080/00365521.2023.2184193. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) is among the most common indications for liver transplantation (LTX) in Europe and North America, with good five-year survival rates post-LTX. Here we evaluated survival up to and beyond 20 years after LTX for patients with ALD compared to a comparison group.

Methods: Patients with ALD and a comparison group transplanted in the Nordic countries between 1982 and 2020 were included. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Kaplan-Meier curves and predictors of survival were assessed with Cox-regressions.

Results: 831 patients with ALD and 2979 patients in the comparison group were included in the study. Patients with ALD were older at the time of LTX (p < .001) and more likely to be male (p < .001). The estimated median follow-up time was 9.1 years for the ALD-group and 11.1 years for the comparison group. 333 (40.1%) patients with ALD and 1010 (33.9%) patients in the comparison group died during follow-up. The overall survival was impaired for patients with ALD compared to the comparison group (p < .001) and was evident for male and female patients, patients transplanted before and after 2005, and observed in all age-groups except patients over 60 years. Age at transplant, waiting time, year of LTX and country of LTX were associated with decreased survival after LTX for patients with ALD.

Conclusions: Patients with ALD have a decreased long-term survival following LTX. This difference was evident in most sub-groups of patients and warrants close follow-up of liver transplanted patients with ALD with focus on risk reduction.

Keywords: Alcohol-related liver disease; Nordic countries; liver transplantation; survival.