DOI: 10.1097/lvt.0000000000000362 ISSN: 1527-6465

Management of Alcohol-Associated liver disease and alcohol use disorder in liver transplant candidates and recipients: Challenges and opportunities

Pratima Sharma, Akhil Shenoy, Hersh Shroff, Allison Kwong, Nicholas Lim, Anjana Pillai, Deepika Devuni, Lamia Y. Haque, Wendy Balliet, Marina Serper
  • Transplantation
  • Hepatology
  • Surgery

Alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) poses a significant global health burden, with rising alcohol consumption and prevalence of alcohol use disorder (AUD) contributing to increased morbidity and mortality. This review examines the challenges and opportunities in the care of liver transplant (LT) candidates and recipients with AUD. Despite advancements in post-transplant patient survival, the risk of disease recurrence and alcohol relapse remains substantial. Several challenges have been identified, including (1) rising disease burden of ALD, variable transplant practices, and systemic barriers; (2) disparities in mental health therapy access and the impact on transplant; (3) variable definitions, underdiagnosis, and stigma affecting access to care; and (4) post-LT relapse, its risk factors, and consequential harm. The review focusses on the opportunities to improve AUD care for LT candidates and recipients through effective biochemical monitoring, behavioral and pharmacologic approaches, creating Centers of Excellence for post-LT AUD care, advocating for policy reforms, and ensuring insurance coverage for necessary services as essential steps toward improving patient outcomes. The review also highlights unmet needs, such as the scarcity of addiction specialists, and calls for further research on personalized behavioral treatments, digital health, and value-based care models to optimize AUD care in the LT setting.

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