Alcohol and liver failure

So If my liver failed, how long could I stay drunk off of a few glasses of wine? Nevermind the other problems…

Well, your BAC is likely to stay high for some time after you’re dead. Does that count toward the time you wish to measure?

Sure, why not? I understand that it takes a little while while you’re on the transplant list, slapnuts.

Could I get a real answer here?

If your liver totally fails, you’re going to be dead in a few days.

I had a buddy, best damn crane operator I ever met, but a serious alcoholic too. It finally caught up w/ him and I visted him in Keesler AFB hospital (Biloxi, Ms.) where he was hooked up to more tubes than I could count and everything was failing. He swore he’d never touch another drop if he got through this. As I was leaving he called me to lean in close and asked me if I would come back. When I assured him I would, he asked if I could just sneak in a little taste for him. I told him I’d try and that made him happy, he had something to look forward to. He died a day or so later, I never saw him again.

Days, possibly hours. And drinking will not be on your mind when your liver totally fails, believe me. It’s a messy, ugly, degrading death.

If someone loaded you with the amount of ethanol in a standard drink after your liver totally failed (either via NG tube or IV), your blood alcohol level would rise to about 0.07% (if you’re a 170 lb man) and probably stay that way until you die, as the alternate pathways of detoxification of ethanol generally involve the liver, too. When your liver fails, your kidneys generally shut down too, so you wouldn’t lose any that way. I doubt you’d exhale enough to drop your level significantly before you died. If you were being dialyzed (hemo or peritoneal), that would lower it.

There’s your real answer for you.

I believe one of the prerequisites for getting a liver transplant is that you do not drink one single drop of alcohol while you are waiting.

That was a real answer. If your liver fails, you will die a quick and painful death. We even had a well-respected member here die from liver failure out of nowhere reportedly in the absence of drugs and alcohol (totally possible).

You may be talking about severe liver damage and the answer to that is you could remain drug for almost any length of time. A large alcohol tolerance will switch to an intolerance as the liver becomes increasingly unable to process it out of the bloodstream. However, that effect is likely to be short lived because liver failure is inevitable at that point if the person continues drinking which brings us to the death problem mentioned above. It is extremely unlikely for someone that continues to drink to get a liver transplant and even if they made the list, it almost certainly wouldn’t be in time.

It is. You can’t smoke pot either. Even though medical marijauna is legal in California and a few other states, the organ waiting list is maintained by the Feds. Expect regular drug and alcohol tests. You’re going to have to restrict the hell out of your diet too if you want to live. Even at that, only one out of ten people who need a liver get one before they succumb.

Thanks, everyone. Sorry if I sound pissy, its kinda hard to watch her die.

Is she on a transplant list?


My girlfriend got her donor liver in October of 2006 and is doing great. I met her in January so I didn’t know her through her illness and recovery.

There are some pretty good support groups out there. You need to take advantage of those. You absolutely have to be your own advocate through this process. The stories that she has to tell about her sickness and then eventually getting the liver are nothing short of amazing. She was deathly ill on and off for three years but was just weeks from the end when her liver came through for her.

She was never much of a drinker by the way. Her liver began to fail because of a blood clotting disorder. She has to take a handful of pills a few times a day, blood thinners, anti-rejection drugs and vitamins, but it sure beats the alternative.

Bit of a nitpick, but I wouldn’t call it painful, on average.
Messy, yes. Yellow; bleeding; sometimes a pretty swollen belly.
Generally, though, a hepatic encephalopathy accompanies liver failure deaths and the patients I’ve taken care of who have died that way did not have pain as a major factor. I am only mentioning this in case the OP actually knows someone exiting this way.


I hope the OP will forgive a slight hijack but this doesn’t warrant a thread of its own.

If you happen to see this, Qadgop, I’d appreciate your assessment on the relative danger, liverwise or other, in drinking two to three 3 oz. glasses of 100 proof alcohol a day. After having had not much more than a little wine from time to time since my early twenties, I began to consume spirits at this rate roughly a year and a half ago. I’ve wondered from time to time whether I might be overdoing it but can’t seem to find definitive information online. I’m 59 years old and weigh approx. 230 lbs. if that makes a difference.

Christ, yes. they’re draining 12(!) liters or so every time she shows up at the hospital. And lovely yellow eyes.

This thread was probably a bad idea. Could some happy mod wish us into the cornfield?

My brother in law, who was a good friend, died from this in 2003. Took about 6 months for him to drop from about 270 to about 185. It wasn’t painful for him to actually die, he was out of it, but it still sucked ass.

Sorry, Darth.

Not to jump in ahead of Qadgop, who will speak to the physical aspect, but I would submit if you’re wondering if it’s a problem, it’s a problem.

Sadly, ivylass and Starving Artist, that’s just not enough info. Wanna know if my mom’s dying? I can answer that one. Maybe take pictures, if anyone really wants to know…

My apologies also Darth. I hadn’t really read much of the thread when I posted my question and didn’t realize you were posting out of despair over a real life situation.

I don’t know if emailing Qadgop would be poor form, but if there should be any hesitation in closing the thread so that I could get an answer to my post, I would happily try to get my answer that way.

Again, my apologies Darth, and my sincere condolences as well.

And on preview, thank you ivylass. I understand the philosophy behind your assesment, but I’m not drinking because I have to have alcohol; it’s more an attempt to develop an appreciation for some of life’s little pleasures than it is out of a compulsion simply to drink alcohol. However, since I began to enjoy serious alcohol so late in the game, I’m simply ignorant as to how much can safely be consumed.