Alcohol Relapse After Early Liver Transplantation in Patients With Alcoholic Liver Disease: A Meta-Analysis

Yousaf Zafar, Ahmed Kamal Siddiqi, Nafhat Shaikh, Maria Imran, Syed Sarmad Javaid, Laila Manzoor, Arsalan Zafar Iqbal, Jan Petrasek


Background: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a significant source of end-stage liver disease and liver failure and an indication for liver transplant (LT). Historically, LT for alcoholic liver disease (ALD) required 6 months of alcohol abstinence. Recently, it has been demonstrated that early LT (< 6 months of abstinence) in strictly selected group of patients provides survival benefit while keeping the relapse to harmful drinking at acceptable levels. This practice has been reflected in the Dallas consensus, but more data are needed to appropriately risk stratify the patient from the perspective of return to harmful alcohol drinking post-transplant. This 6-month rule has been highly debated and recent data demonstrated that the duration of pre-transplant sobriety is not related with an increased risk of relapse to alcohol post-transplant. We performed a meta-analysis to compare the rate of alcohol relapse in individuals having standard vs. early LT.

Methods: MEDLINE and SCOPUS were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs), observational studies, and case-control studies from their inception through June 2022. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMSA) 2009 checklist guidelines were followed for this meta-analysis. Studies comparing post-transplant outcomes, such as alcohol relapse, in individuals following standard vs. early LT, were included. Reviews, case studies, conference abstracts, clinical trials with only an abstract, and studies with inadequate data for extraction were all disqualified. The data were retrieved, gathered, and examined. The random effects model was used to generate forest plots. For the analysis, a P-value of 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Thirty-four studies were discovered in the initial search. Three studies were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis incorporating 367 patients. Mean age was 51.7 years. Out of 367 patients, 173 (47%) underwent early LT. Out of three studies included, one study demonstrated decreased probability of alcohol relapse in patients undergoing early LT, whereas the other two showed the opposite result. All of the included studies were analyzed and had minimal risk of bias. Pooled analysis demonstrates that the difference in alcohol relapse between early vs. standard LT was insignificant (odds ratio: 1.24, 95% confidence interval: 0.75 - 2.06, P = 0.40).

Conclusion: Our results show that early LT is not associated with increased risk of alcohol relapse post-transplant when compared with a mandatory 6-month abstinence period. Hence, individuals with ALD should not be categorically rejected from LT merely on the criteria of 6 months of abstinence. Other selection criteria based on the need and post-transplant outcomes should be utilized.

Gastroenterol Res. 2024;17(1):10-14


Alcohol use disorder; Post-transplant survival rates; 6-month abstinence rule; Selection criterion; Post-transplant outcomes

Full Text: HTML PDF Suppl1 Suppl2 Suppl3

Browse  Journals  


Journal of Clinical Medicine Research

Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Journal of Clinical Gynecology and Obstetrics


World Journal of Oncology

Gastroenterology Research

Journal of Hematology


Journal of Medical Cases

Journal of Current Surgery

Clinical Infection and Immunity


Cardiology Research

World Journal of Nephrology and Urology

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Research


Journal of Neurology Research

International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics



Gastroenterology Research, bimonthly, ISSN 1918-2805 (print), 1918-2813 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
The content of this site is intended for health care professionals.

This is an open-access journal distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted
non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Creative Commons Attribution license (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International CC-BY-NC 4.0)

This journal follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals,
the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines, and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

website:   editorial contact:
Address: 9225 Leslie Street, Suite 201, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 3H6, Canada

© Elmer Press Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the published articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editors and Elmer Press Inc. This website is provided for medical research and informational purposes only and does not constitute any medical advice or professional services. The information provided in this journal should not be used for diagnosis and treatment, those seeking medical advice should always consult with a licensed physician.