Authors: Barrio P, Gual A, Lligoña A, Teixidor L, Weinmann W, Yegles M, Wurst FM
Liver transplantation remains an essential procedure for many patients suffering from alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol use monitoring remains paramount all through the stages of this complex process. Direct alcohol biomarkers, with improved specificity and sensibility, should replace traditional indirect markers. Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) has been recently tested in alcoholic liver disease patients, but more evidence is needed, especially in comparison with other direct biomarkers. We conducted an observational study among patients awaiting liver transplantation. We analyzed Peth in blood, ethylglucuronide (EtG) in hair and urine and ethylsulphate (EtS) in urine, using mass spectrometry methods. In addition, transaminases, and self-reports were analyzed. A total of 50 patients were included (84% men, mean age 59 years (SD = 6)). 18 patients (36%) screened positive for any marker. Self-reports were positive in 3 patients. EtS was the biomarker with more positive screens. It also was the most frequently exclusive biomarker, screening positive in 7 patients who were negative for all other biomarkers. PEth was positive in 5 patients, being the only positive biomarker in 2 patients. It showed a false negative in a patient admitting alcohol use the previous week and screening positive for EtG and EtS. Hair EtG was positive in 3 patients who had negative Peth, EtG. EtG did not provide any exclusive positive result.A combination of biomarkers seems to be the best option to fully ascertain abstinence in this population. Our study suggest EtS might also play a significant role.
Journal of Clinical Medicine