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Comprehensive Transplant Center

DELTA Center for Alcohol Research

DELTA
Delivery of Early Liver Transplant for Alcoholic Hepatitis
 

The DELTA Center for Alcohol Research

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this unique program focuses on delivery of early liver transplant for severe alcoholic hepatitis, potentially qualifying patients for transplant sooner than the six month waiting period often required at other centers.

 
Older couple holding hands

Patient Information

Our team of hepatologists, transplant surgeons, psychiatrists, social workers and clinical staff are dedicated to treating patients beyond their transplant, which involves concentrating on both physical recovery from transplantation and overall well-being. Through this carefully integrated multidisciplinary program, patients have access to critical mental health support services and substance abuse treatment after they receive their liver transplant.

Call 410-614-2989 to speak to a nurse navigator
 
 
Doctor talking to a patient

Physician Referrals

Carefully selected patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis may be eligible for liver transplantation at Johns Hopkins. Our team thoroughly assesses patients, looking at factors beyond period of sobriety, such as available family support and a patient’s understanding of their alcohol use disorder, which influence success after a liver transplant.

Call 410-614-2989 to speak to a nurse navigator
 

Alcoholic Hepatitis: What You Need to Know

  • Does alcoholic hepatitis only occur in people who drink heavily?
    While it is true that heavy drinking over a long time period can cause alcoholic hepatitis, not all people who drink heavily will develop alcoholic hepatitis. Conversely, even “social drinkers” with a history of moderate — not necessarily heavy — alcohol consumption can develop alcoholic hepatitis. Further study is needed to better understand what causes the liver to react differently to alcohol in some than others.
  • Does alcoholic hepatitis only occur in older people who have been heavy drinkers most of their lives?
    Alcoholic hepatitis most often occurs in people between the ages of 30–40. In some cases, individuals may not realize their level of alcohol consumption is harming their liver. Alcohol affects the liver differently for different people due to a number of factors, all of which are not yet known or understood. Johns Hopkins is actively researching these factors through the DELTA Center.
  • If you are diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, do you have to wait six months to become eligible for a liver transplant?
    Most transplant centers require a six-month period of abstinence from drinking alcohol before allowing a patient with alcohol use to undergo a liver transplant. However, Johns Hopkins has begun offering early liver transplant for alcoholic hepatitis and now doesn’t necessarily require this waiting period, rather each patient is considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Is someone with alcoholic hepatitis who receives a liver transplant without at least six months of abstaining from alcohol likely to relapse and drink again?
    There is not firm scientific evidence to show that a six-month alcohol-free period will predict whether a person will drink again after a liver transplant. In fact, Johns Hopkins has offered early liver transplant for alcoholic hepatitis — transplant without a six-month waiting period — for several years and has found that these patients had the same likelihood of drinking again as those who had waited at least six months to get their transplants.
  • What are the treatment options for severe alcoholic hepatitis?
    By the time severe alcoholic hepatitis is diagnosed, irreversible damage has often been done to the liver. At this point, the only cures are abstinence and maybe liver transplantation. At the time of diagnosis, some patients are quite ill and need a liver transplant to survive before a six-month waiting period has elapsed
  • Do patients struggling with alcohol abuse get addiction support after receiving their liver transplant?
    The Johns Hopkins DELTA Center focuses on treating patients beyond their liver transplant — our experts concentrate on both physical recovery from transplantation surgery as well as overall well-being. DELTA Center patients are given access to critical mental health support services and substance abuse treatment through the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry after their transplants.
 
Male and female scientist

Researcher

Our team performs innovative research to better understand why alcoholic hepatitis develops and why certain individuals may be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than others. Through this research and by studying outcomes of patients who have received treatment at the DELTA Center, we hope to develop evidence-based best practices and standards of care for alcoholic hepatitis that can be adopted broadly by centers worldwide. Learn how you can collaborate with our team.

For more information email out team at DeltaLiverTransplant@jhmi.edu

 

Primary Investigators

Photo of Dr. Andrew MacGregor Cameron, M.D., Ph.D.

Cameron, Andrew MacGregor, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Surgery
Chief, Division of Transplantation
Surgical Director of Liver Transplantation
 
Photo of Dr. Heng Zhu, Ph.D.

Zhu, Heng, Ph.D.

Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
Professor of Oncology
Co-Director, High Throughout Biology Center
 
Photo of Dr. Mary E. McCaul, Ph.D.

McCaul, Mary E., Ph.D.

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Professor of Medicine
 
Photo of Dr. Robert Albert Anders, M.D., Ph.D.

Anders, Robert Albert, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pathology
Assistant Professor of Oncology
 
Photo of Dr. Zhaoli Sun, M.D., Ph.D.

Sun, Zhaoli, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Surgery
 
  
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