Alcohol a no-go after liver transplants

Kiwi-born Aussie shock-jock Derryn Hinch is back on the booze after a liver transplant, his ex girlfriend claims. Photo / File
Kiwi-born Aussie shock-jock Derryn Hinch is back on the booze after a liver transplant, his ex girlfriend claims. Photo / File

Alcohol is the "enemy" for anyone who has undergone a liver transplant and should be avoided at all costs, Australian Liver Foundation chairman Mike Ahern says.

His warning comes after Senator Derryn Hinch's ex girlfriend claimed the former broadcaster was drinking again despite having had a liver transplant five years ago after alcohol destroyed his own.

Senator Hinch says he has been occasionally drinking watered down red wine and ultra light beer, and that his surgeon had given him permission to do so.

But Mr Ahern says alcohol is simply "no good" after a liver transplant largely because of the impact it can have on medications patients must take to prevent their new organ being rejected.

READ MORE: Ex-girfriend of Kiwi-born broadcaster Derryn Hinch exposes he's back on the booze after having liver transplant from alcoholism

"Alcohol is your enemy," he told AAP on Tuesday.

"You can't say, 'I can have a couple of drinks on a Saturday night.' The answer is no. You must stay off it completely."

"Even if your liver cancer isn't caused by alcohol, it still applies because the new liver going in needs everything going for it and not any alcohol."

Senator Hinch, 72, underwent a liver transplant in 2011 to replace the cancerous, cirrhotic organ that was slowly killing him.

In 2008 he vowed to give up alcohol.

Statistics from Transplant Australia show that 264 liver transplants were carried out in 2015.

The organisation warns prospective transplant patients that if their liver disease was caused by alcohol or if alcohol contributed to their liver disease, they must never drink alcohol again.

Its information manual for patients says moderate alcohol consumption may damage the new liver.

However, transplant recipients "may have an alcoholic beverage to celebrate special occasions" as long as they limit their intake to one to two glasses of wine or champagne or one to two glasses of beer.

REQUIREMENTS FOR LIVER TRANSPLANTS

• Irreversible, progressive liver disease

• Liver disease that fails to respond to all medical and surgical treatment

• Alcohol should be avoided for the first year after a transplant

• Moderate alcohol consumption may damage the liver

(Source: Australian National Liver Transplantation Unit)

-AAP

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