Detecting Lifetime Alcohol Problems in Individuals Referred for Liver Transplantation for Nonalcoholic Liver Failure

Edward Day, David Best, R Sweeting, R Russell, K Webb, George Georgiou, James Neuberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Transplantation for alcoholic liver disease is becoming increasingly common, and with adequate screening, short- to medium-term outcomes are very good. However, while conducting a prospective study of the outcome of liver transplantation in Birmingham, United Kingdom, we observed that a research diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence was made in a number of cases in which no reference to alcohol problems had been made by the referring agency. This article explores the characteristics of these "missed" cases and highlights key patient characteristics that might prompt a more detailed assessment of alcohol consumption. Two hundred eight individuals completed the research interview, and 80 (39%) met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV criteria for a lifetime diagnosis of either alcohol abuse (n = 29) or dependence (n = 51). When the initial referral details were reviewed, the possibility of alcohol problems had not been raised in 10 (12.5%) of these cases. Hepatitis C was the most common primary diagnosis in the missed cases, but there was no difference between diagnosed and missed cases in terms of demographic factors, severity of liver disease, or the number or degree of lifetime problems associated with alcohol. However, members of the missed group were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the past 6 months and in a greater volume and were more likely to have used illicit drugs such as opiates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, and cannabis. These findings point to the need to take an adequate history of lifetime alcohol problems in all patients being considered for liver transplantation. Liver Transpl 14:1609-1613, 2008. (C) 2008 AASLD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1609-1613
Number of pages5
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


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