What Happens if Alcohol is Consumed Before A Lung Transplant?
Friday, May 18, 2018

Alcohol Use Before Lung Transplant Lengthens Hospital Stay and Time on Ventilator

 
MAYWOOD, IL – Lung transplant patients who showed evidence of alcohol use before their transplants spent more time in the hospital and on the ventilator, according to a study by Loyola University Chicago and Loyola Medicine researchers.
 
The study by Erin M. Lowery, MD, and colleagues is published in the journal Clinical Transplantation.
 
The prospective observational study followed 86 lung transplant patients. Thirty-four percent reported they were moderate drinkers before their transplants and 10 percent tested positive for recent alcohol use at the time of their transplants.
 
Patients showing evidence of recent alcohol use spent 1.5 times longer in the hospital, three times as long on ventilators and nearly three times as long in the intensive care unit, compared with patients who did not have recent alcohol use.
 
There were no differences in dysfunction of the transplanted lung, although several patients with recent alcohol use had post-transplant kidney injuries, rejection episodes and irregular heartbeats called atrial arrhythmias.
 
The findings suggest that abstaining from alcohol while waiting for a transplant "may be one additional factor that the patient can control in order to stay heathy and prepared for surgery and potentially optimizing their lung transplant outcome," Dr. Lowery and colleagues wrote.
 
Loyola's lung transplant program advises patients waiting for lung transplants to abstain from alcohol. Following transplants, patients should continue to abstain to prevent harmful drug interactions.
 
Previous studies have found that in the general population, alcohol abuse (including binge drinking and heavy drinking) negatively affects the lungs in several ways, including decreased lung function and an increased risk of pneumonia. But there has been little prior research on alcohol use in people with advanced lung disease.
 
Dr. Lowery is an assistant professor in Loyola Medicine's division of pulmonary and critical care medicine and Loyola University Chicago's Alcohol Research Program. In addition to Dr. Lowery, other co-authors are Meagan Yong and Arala Cohen of the Alcohol Research Program; Cara Joyce, PhD, of Loyola University Chicago's department of public health sciences; and Elizabeth J. Kovacs, PhD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
 
The study is titled "Recent alcohol use prolongs hospital length of stay following lung transplant." It was supported by grants from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
 
For 30 years, Loyola has operated the largest and most successful lung transplant program in Illinois. Loyola has performed more than 900 lung transplants–more than all other Illinois centers combined. Loyola's multidisciplinary team regularly evaluates and successfully performs transplants in patients who have been turned down by other centers in Chicago and surrounding states. Despite taking on more challenging cases, Loyola consistently records outstanding outcomes. 
 

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.