The psychiatric diagnosis of alcohol abuse and the medical diagnosis of alcoholic related liver disease: Effects on liver transplant survival

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Abstract

The present study investigated whether differing diagnostic criteria for alcoholism used by mental health professionals versus hepatologists lead to different outcomes in predicting liver transplant survival as determined by the medical record and without a priori judgments. This was in contrast to past studies, particularly in the liver transplant literature, demonstrating comparable survival rates between alcoholics and non-alcoholics that have typically employed a diagnosis of Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD), which does not capture the salient maladaptive behavioral and interpersonal features associated with DSM-IV-TR diagnoses of Alcohol Abuse (AA) and Alcohol Dependence (AD). A series of survival analyses were conducted using data culled from the psychological and medical records of 358 first-time liver transplant recipients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. The primary outcome investigated was liver graft survival following transplant surgery. Follow-up times varied from 0 days to 13 years, depending on the time of transplant andlength of graft survival, with a median follow-up time of 6.2 years. Diagnoses of AA and AD predicted significantly poorer survival rates, while diagnoses of ALD did not.DSM-IV-TR alcoholism criteria appear to have greater utility for predicting survival differences beyond pathophysiologically defined alcoholic liver failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of clinical psychology in medical settings
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Depression
  • Drug abuse
  • Survival
  • Transplant

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