Effect of an Integrated Transplantation Mental Health Program on Alcohol Relapse After Liver Transplantation for Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis: A Single-Center Prospective Study

Stephanie C. Zanowski, Jenessa S. Price, Motaz A. Selim, Vanessa Schumann, Francisco Durazo, Johnny C. Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Liver transplantation (LT) for severe alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH) remains controversial due to perceived increased recidivism risk after LT because of a lack of protracted abstinence before LT. Data on risk stratification for alcohol relapse after LT are limited. We sought to evaluate the utility of having a mental health program embedded in a transplantation center in risk assessment for alcohol relapse-free patient survival after LT. Methods: We conducted a prospective analysis of all patients with a diagnosis of severe AH hospitalized at a single transplant center from April 2015 to April 2020. After a comprehensive mental health risk stratification, patients were either waitlisted for LT or declined for waitlisting. The primary endpoint was alcohol relapse-free patient survival rate for those who received LT. The secondary endpoint compared survival rates between patients who received LT and those who did not. The median follow-up was 10 months. Results: Among the 83 patients included in the study, 54 patients were waitlisted for LT (65%, group 1) and 29 were declined (35%, group 2). Patient characteristics and median Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score on presentation were comparable for both cohorts (36 in group 1, 38 in group 2; P = .8). Group 1 had significantly better Stanford Integrated Psychosocial Assessment for Transplantation total scores (median 40 vs 57; P < .01), presence of social support (100% of patients in group 1 vs 76% in group 2; P < .01), and less prevalence of active tobacco smokers (30% in group 1 vs 66% in group 2; P < .01). For those who were not waitlisted, 72.5% experienced rapid deterioration of hepatic function. Among the 54 patients waitlisted, 29 patients received LT (54%), whereas 19 died while on the waiting list (35%). One- and 3-year patient survival after LT were 92.5% and 92.5%, respectively. The overall and sustained alcohol relapse rates after LT were 10.3% and 3.5%, respectively. Conclusion: Severe AH is a complex medical and mental health disease and requires an intense risk assessment for recidivism after LT. Our study shows that an integrated transplantation mental health program provides an accurate risk stratification for alcohol relapse after LT, a successful intervention to mitigate recidivism risk, and optimal short-term alcohol relapse-free patient survival. Future studies should focus on enhancing the guidelines for broader application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2627-2633
Number of pages7
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Volume54
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of an Integrated Transplantation Mental Health Program on Alcohol Relapse After Liver Transplantation for Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis: A Single-Center Prospective Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this