Liver Transplantation After Bariatric Surgery: a Clinical Cohort Study

David C. Fipps, Rachel E. Goetze, Matthew M. Clark, Kristin Mara, Kymberly D. Watt, Sheila G. Jowsey-Gregoire, Julie K. Heimbach, Karen Grothe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Individuals that undergo bariatric surgery are at higher risk for problematic alcohol use via pharmacokinetic changes in alcohol metabolism and cross addictions. Little data exists regarding post-bariatric surgery patients with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) who ultimately require liver transplantation. The aim of this project was to better understand demographic, medical, and psychological characteristics of post-bariatric surgery patients who undergo liver transplantation due to ALD. Methods: This retrospective clinical cohort identified 1416 patients who underwent ALD liver transplantation over a 10-year timespan at three academic medical centers. Electronic medical records were reviewed for patient characteristics, including sex, age, body mass index, surgery dates, Model for End Stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores, medical history, psychiatric history, and mortality rates. Results: Within the sample of liver transplantation patients, 1.3% had undergone bariatric surgery prior to transplantation. Fifty percent of the post-bariatric surgery sample was female. The MELD score was higher and the median age at transplantation was younger in the post-bariatric surgery subgroup in comparison to that in the non-bariatric surgery patients. Mood and anxiety disorders were more common among those with a history of having bariatric surgery, with major depressive disorder having the largest difference between subgroups. Conclusions: Among patients who require a liver transplantation due to ALD, those with a history of bariatric surgery are more likely to be female, younger, and diagnosed with mood disorders. Further studies with larger and more diverse samples are necessary to better understand how to prevent development of alcohol use disorder in the bariatric surgery population. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3700-3706
Number of pages7
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Consultation-liaison psychiatry
  • Liver transplantation
  • Psychiatry
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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