J Clin Exp Hepatol. 2022 Jan-Feb;12(1):13-19. doi: 10.1016/j.jceh.2021.09.015. Epub 2021 Sep 22.
BACKGROUND: Liver transplantation (LT) for alcohol-related liver disease has historically been reserved for patients who have been six months abstinent. Given the increasing incidence of alcohol-related hepatitis (AH) and dismal survival in patients who fail medical therapy, transplant centers are extending their acceptance criteria for patients with less than 6 months of sobriety. We sought to determine the barriers for listing.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of all inpatient LT referrals for a diagnosis of AH between September 2019 and December 2020. LT evaluations were performed by a multidisciplinary team. Descriptive statistics were reported using mean and standard deviation (SD) or percentage where appropriate.
RESULTS: During our study period, 82 patients were evaluated for LT. Of these 82 patients, 62 were declined for liver transplantation. The mean (SD) age of the 62-patient cohort was 44 years (10.7), and most patients were men. The mean (SD) number of reasons for denial was 2 (0.97). Four patients had medical contraindications for transplant. Twenty-seven (44%) and 35 (56%) patients lacked insight and were at risk of alcohol relapse, respectively. Forty-three (69%) and fourteen (22.5%) patients had insufficient social support and an inability to maintain a therapeutic relationship with the transplant team, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Patients are more likely denied for psychosocial factors than medical comorbidities. The majority were due to lack of insight, insufficient social support, and inability to maintain a therapeutic relationship with the transplant team. Resources should be allocated to address these issues.