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The pervading influence of alcoholic liver disease in hepatology.

Authors
  • Williams, Roger
Type
Published Article
Journal
Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2008
Volume
43
Issue
4
Pages
393–397
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agn013
PMID: 18385413
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Rising levels of alcohol consumption in the UK are leading to substantial increases in morbidity and mortality from liver disease. Drinking is starting at an earlier age with binging an increasing common pattern, and women are overtaking men in the consumption. Manifestations of liver damage range from fatty liver to end-stage cirrhosis, but it is the increasing number of cases presenting with an acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH) that are the cause for greatest concern. Development of well-validated prognostic scoring systems (Maddrey Modified Discriminant Function, Glasgow Alcohol Score) makes it possible to select those patients with AAH who are most likely to respond to corticosteroids. The results of early pilot studies of a number of anti-TNF agents are encouraging and with infliximab, reduction in portal pressure has been demonstrated to be consequent on controlling inflammatory processes in the liver. For those deteriorating to the stage of liver failure, artificial liver support with MARS is of value in correcting major pathophysiological disturbances and as a bridge to liver transplantation, the results of which both for end-stage alcoholic cirrhosis and for AAH--of which there is limited experience, are excellent. Even as the stringent regulatory measures needed to control rising alcohol consumption are introduced by government, the burden of liver disease in the UK will remain high for years to come.

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