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News

Liver disease mortality due to alcohol is on the increase in England

The incidence of liver disease mortality due to alcohol has dramatically increased in a region of England in recent years, the BSG conference has been told.

News image

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Researchers determined the incidence of liver disease mortality, and underlying trends, in three boroughs of the West Midlands, England.

The team reported their findings to the Annual Meeting of the British Society of Gastroenterology, held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Data from Wolverhampton, Dudley, and Sandwell (total population 845,000) between 1993 and 1999 was analyzed.

Public health mortality files were examined for liver-related deaths. The case notes of subjects with liver disease of unspecified cause were studied.

Incidence of alcoholic liver disease:
1993 - 3.1 per 10000
1999 - 9.3 per 10000
British Society of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting

The team found that there was a stepwise increase in liver-related mortality, from 6.6 per 105 population in 1993, to 13.9 per 105 in 1999.

This increase was exclusively due to alcoholic liver disease (ALD) - with an incidence of 3.1 per 105 in 1993, rising threefold to 9.3 per 105 in 1999.

Mortality due to other defined liver diseases was stable, at 0.5 per 105.

In Wolverhampton and Sandwell (which have large Asian communities) ALD mortality rates in the Asian and White populations were similar. However the median age at death was lower in Asian subjects (46 years) than White subjects (55 years).

The authors commented that the true ALD mortality was likely to be underestimated. This was because unspecified liver disease (around 20% of all liver mortality) was due to ALD in 62% of cases. In addition, ALD deaths increased by 8% when accounting for ALD 'misclassified' as other diseases.

Finally, in-patient liver disease episodes increased stepwise from 41 per 105 population in 1995, to 57 per 105 in 1999, which correlated significantly with mortality rates.

Researcher N. C. Fisher, of the Department of Gastroenterology, the Dudley Hospitals, concluded, "Liver disease mortality due to alcohol has increased dramatically in recent years. If sustained, this trend will have important implications for gastroenterologists and public health specialists."

British Society of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting
20 March 2001

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