Dr Michael Lucy and colleagues, Wisconsin, USA examined the prevalence and clinical characteristics of alcohol-induced liver disease (ALD) in patients referred to a tertiary care center.
The researchers also examined the interaction between ALD and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a longitudinal survival model.
The research team recruited a total of 1611 patients with chronic liver disease that had been referred to a tertiary care center between 1994 and 2001.
Researchers analyzed and compared the survival of ALD, HCV, and the combination of the 2 (ALD + HCV) in cirrhotic and precirrhotic patients, using Kaplan–Meier estimates.
Using a Cox proportional hazards model, the researchers were able to examine the independent effects of predictors on survival.
ALD comprised 31% of the cohort, ALD + HCV comprised 14%, HCV comprised 22%, and the rest comprised 33%.
|In patients with ALD, the addition of HCV does not change survival|
|Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
The researchers found that the survival of precirrhotic patients with HCV was significantly better than the survival of those with ALD over long-term and 1-year follow-up periods.
There was no difference in survival between patients with ALD and ALD + HCV.
In addition, the team found that in patients with cirrhosis, survival did not differ by cause, in fact, decompensated liver disease and continued alcohol abuse predicted worse survival in this group.
ALD with HCV remains a prevalent cause of chronic liver disease in patients referred to a U.S. tertiary care center.
Dr Lucy concluded, "In patients with ALD, the addition of HCV does not change survival, suggesting alcoholism is the driving force for mortality in patients coming to clinical attention. "
He added, "In patients with cirrhosis, ongoing excessive alcohol use and complications of end-stage liver disease drive mortality, irrespective of the underlying cause of chronic liver disease."