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Minerva Medica 2016 August;107(4):223-38


language: English

Treatment of alcohol use disorder patients affected by liver cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma awaiting liver transplantation

Gianni TESTINO 1, Silvia LEONE 2, Paolo BORRO 3

1 Centro Alcologico Regionale, Regione Liguria, IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, Genoa, Italy; 2 University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 3 Centro Alcologico Regionale, Regione Liguria, UO Alcologia, IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, Genoa, Italy


Alcohol is one of the top three priority areas for public health worldwide. Alcohol is the second leading cause of liver disease, and 45-60% of cirrhosis deaths are alcohol related. In the United States it represents 30% of liver transplants and in Europe 50%. Twenty to 40% of cases of steatosis evolve into steatohepatitis, and l8-20% directly into liver cirrhosis; 20-40% of cases of steatohepatitis evolve into cirrhosis and 4-5% into hepatocellular carcinoma. This cascade of events takes 5 to 40 years. The temporal variability is related to the genetic pattern of the subject and the presence of associated risk factors. Thirty to 40% of patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD) suffer from HCV, and 70% of HCV patients have a history of risky / harmful alcohol consumption. A severe clinical condition is certainly the overlap of acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH) with a framework of HCV-related chronic hepatitis: acute chronic liver failure (ACLF). In the case of decompensated cirrhosis, severe AAH or ACLF non responder to medical therapy the indication, in selected patients, is certainly liver transplantation (LT). ALD treatment is important, but not very effective if abstention is not reached. In case of liver disease related or correlated to LT such as decompensated cirrhosis, severe AAH or ACLF the possibility of anticraving therapy is restricted to metadoxine and baclofen. In all alcohol use disorder patients with ALD psycho-social therapy and attendance at SHG groups it is mandatory, even in post-transplant period.

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