Alcoholism treatment can help liver transplant process

Two new research studies suggest that liver transplant patients with a history of alcohol abuse are less likely to relapse if they undergo substance abuse treatment before and after their surgery. They also determined that continued alcohol abuse after surgery raises the risk of transplant failure. Both reports are published in the journal Liver Transplantation and highlight the importance of preventing relapse. 

Alcohol liver disease (ALD) is the second most common cause for liver transplantation for individuals in the United States and Europe. While prior research shows that overall survival rates for individuals with ALD are comparable to those without the disease, relapse is a common occurrence that pose many health risks. 

In the first study, researchers from the Transplant Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, found that only 16 percent of alcoholics who underwent addiction treatment relapsed, compared to 45 percent of the individuals who did not receive any assistance. 

"While many transplant centers require candidates with a history of alcohol abuse to attend substance-abuse treatment prior to transplantation, our findings emphasize the importance of continued therapy after the transplant to prevent alcohol relapse," said Dr. James Rodrigue, the study's lead investigator in a press release. 

The second analysis, also conducted at BIDMC, found that patients with ALD who resumed excessive drinking a liver transplant were more likely to suffer from liver scarring and transplant failure.

If your friend or relative battling alcoholism, contact Intervention Services today. Our experienced staff an help you learn how an intervention for an alcoholic can help your loved one enter an effective treatment program. 

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