Preliminary Evaluation of Phosphatidylethanol and Alcohol Consumption in Patients with Liver Disease and Hypertension

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, 29425, USA.
Alcohol and Alcoholism (Impact Factor: 2.89). 06/2009; 44(5):464-7. DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agp039
Source: PubMed


The goal of this preliminary study was to evaluate the relationship between blood phosphatidylethanol (PEth) and recent drinking in patients with liver disease and hypertension.
Twenty-one patients with liver disease and 21 patients with essential hypertension were recruited at an academic medical center. Alcohol consumption was estimated using validated self-report methods, and blood PEth was measured by HPLC-MS/MS at a contracted laboratory. Nonparametric comparisons were made between abstainers/light drinkers, moderate drinkers consuming between 1 and 3 drinks per day, and those drinking above this level. Regression methods were used to estimate the effects of liver disease, gender, and age on the relationship between PEth and alcohol use, and to estimate the strength of the linear relationship between PEth and drinking.
PEth differed significantly between the three drinking groups (P < 0.001). The relationship between PEth and alcohol did not differ between hypertension and liver disease patients (P = 0.696), nor by gender and age. While there was substantial variability between subjects in the PEth concentration given a similar level of reported drinking, the amount of ethanol consumed was strongly associated with the PEth concentration (P < 0.001).
Results support PEth measurement by HPLC-MS/MS as a promising marker of past 1- to 2-week moderate to heavy alcohol consumption in patients with and without liver disease. PEth appears useful for differentiating abstinence or light drinking from moderate to heavy consumption, but may have limited utility for differentiating moderate from heavy alcohol use.

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