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 23 April 2018

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News

Liver disease may be being missed in primary care

Treatable chronic liver disease may be being missed in primary care, because abnormal liver function test results are often not adequately investigated, according to a study in this week's BMJ.

News image

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Researchers from the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, England followed up all adult patients who had an abnormal result for liver function. This was based on a test requested by their doctor between January and June 1995.

Of 873 patients followed up, 342 were not under hospital review.

58% of patients who required additional investigation had no further tests.
BMJ
157 of these patients were thought to require further investigation, yet no further tests had been requested for 91 (58%).

66 patients had been partially investigated by their doctor, and in 7 patients results suggesting a treatable chronic liver disease had not been followed up, and no referral had been made to a gastroenterologist.

Stephen Ryder, Consultant Hepatologist at the Medical Centre, said, "Our findings show that many important diagnoses - including communicable, potentially life-threatening diseases - are missed."

"Patients with persistently abnormal test results should be referred to a hepatologist or gastroenterologist," he concluded.

BMJ 2001; 321: 276-8
02 February 2001

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