Death from COVID-19 after liver disease may reveal differences in care: study

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A survey of people hospitalized for COVID-19 found that those with chronic liver disease and a history of alcohol abuse were 80% more likely to die from the virus and less likely to receive life-saving intubation.

In research to be presented this week at the International Liver Congress, researchers based in France analyzed the of 259,000 COVID patients admitted to hospitals by 2020.

About 16,300 of whom had been previously diagnosed with chronic conditions disease.

The average mortality rate among all hospitalized patients with the virus was 15 percent. However, among people with chronic liver disease, the rate jumped to almost a quarter.

But even though previous studies had been considered as a factor in the severity of COVID, this study found that mortality could be related to patients who were ventilated.

According to the study, patients suffering from alcoholism, advanced cirrhosis or and had a higher morbidity than COVID-19 and were less likely to have been intubated.

Patients with milder liver problems, due to unrelated chronic liver disease abuse, organ transplants, and viral hepatitis, for example, did not have a high risk of mortality from COVID-19, but received ventilation at a higher rate.

“Our results suggest that a limitation of therapeutic effort may have contributed to the excess mortality of patients with liver complications and of patients with alcohol-related disorders,” the study said.

Thomas Berg, new president of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), told AFP that the results reflect a trend in care for patients with liver that predates the pandemic.

“There is already some public data showing that having a liver – related complication and a the disorder reduces the likelihood of being mechanically ventilated by 20-25 percent, ”he said.

“Important study”

A survey conducted in the United States in 2013 on 300 people with mild and advanced liver disease found that most respondents perceived a stigma against their diagnosis.

“Most patients are willing to talk about whether they have any heart disease or cancer,” Berg said, “but when it comes to liver there is always the self-inflicted perception, related to drugs or alcohol. “

He is the largest that has analyzed probability patients must survive a coronavirus infection.

France’s universal access to hospital care means there was a wide range of patients with COVID and analysts could look back at 10 years of records from the national discharge database to determine comorbidities.

“It’s an important study because the data comes from a natural record and the data is pretty robust,” Berg said.

Other studies to be presented at the conference examine how the pandemic has affected alcohol consumption in general.

Last month’s figures from Britain’s National Statistics Office (ONS) showed there had been 7,423 deaths directly caused by alcohol abuse in 2020, 20% more than in 2019 and a maximum of 20 years.


Alcohol consumption in patients with chronic liver disease


© 2021 AFP

Citation: Death from COVID-19 after liver disease may reveal healthcare differences: study (2021, June 22) retrieved June 22, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-covid-death -liver-disease-reveal. html

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