Alcohol-associated liver disease mortality rises, jumped during pandemic

April 14, 2022

2 minute read

Disclosures: Deutsch-Link does not report any relevant financial information. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.

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According to data published in Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology.

“We have seen a persistent increase in mortality for more than two decades now and have seen an acceleration of this trend since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sasha Deutsch-Link, MD, gastroenterology fellow at the school of the University of North Carolina

Medicine and his colleagues told Healio. “Coupled with the increase in alcohol consumption that began during the COVID-19 pandemic, this portends a continued increase in alcohol-associated liver disease burden and mortality.

To further investigate trends in alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) death rates, Deutsch-Link and colleagues used the CDC National Center’s Underlying Causes of Death Public Use Data File for Health Statistics to collect US resident mortality data as of January 1. From 1 2017 to 31 December 2020. They reported the annual age-adjusted death rates by sex and race/ethnicity, as well as the monthly percentage change in crude mortality, using the Joinpoint regression program from the National Cancer Institute.

According to the investigators, the monthly percentage change in the crude number of ALD-related deaths among men was 0.36 (95% CI, 0.21-0.51) before February 2020 and 3.18 ( 95% CI 2.2-4.17) after February 2020, which corresponds to an average monthly percentage change from January 2017 to December 2020 of 0.96 (95% CI, 0.73-1.19) .

For women, the monthly percentage change was 0.46 (95% CI, 0.28-0.64) before February 2020 and 3.8 (95% CI, 2.7-5.07) after February 2020, corresponding to an average of 1.18 (95% CI, 0.9-1.46) from January 2017 to December 2020.

“These death rates have accelerated since the beginning of 2020, right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Deutsch-Link told Healio, explaining that from 2019 to 2020, ALD rates increased by 51 % in men aged 25-34 and 45% in men aged 45-54 and in women, this increase was 38% for those aged 25-34 and 47% for those aged 35-44.

According to the investigators, factors that may have contributed to the increase in ALD during the pandemic include compromised appropriate health care, as well as the increase in obesity/metabolic syndrome and comorbid non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. , both of which may increase the risk of ALD. They also noted that ALD death rates are increasing not only among both genders at nearly all ages, but also among all ethnic and racial demographics.

“Future studies should focus on interventions aimed at addressing alcohol use at a public health level and improving access to evidence-based treatment for alcohol use disorders,” said Deutsch-Link. “We have witnessed several successful interventions to address the opioid crisis, and we need to learn from these efforts to intervene on the rise in alcohol consumption and its associated complications.”

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