Digestive Disease Week

Digestive Disease Week

Perspective from Paul Y. Kwo, MD, FACG
Source:

Roark T, et al. Abstract 11. Presented at: Digestive Disease Week; May 21-23, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Roark reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
May 21, 2021
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Increased alcohol-related liver disease diagnoses amid SARS-CoV-2

Perspective from Paul Y. Kwo, MD, FACG
Source:

Roark T, et al. Abstract 11. Presented at: Digestive Disease Week; May 21-23, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Roark reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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Researchers reported a significant increase in alcohol-related liver disease diagnoses amid the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, according to a presentation at Digestive Disease Week.

“There has been a reported changing prevalence of non–COVID-19 diseases during this pandemic,” Travis Roark, MD, Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego, Calif., and colleagues wrote. “There is concern mental health disorders have been exacerbated as people are socially isolated and dealing with profound stressors, leading to behaviors like increased alcohol consumption.”

Alcohol bottles
Source: Adobe Stock

Using the Scripps Health electronic medical record Epic SlicerDicer, researchers performed a retrospective analysis of alcohol-related diagnoses and hospital trends from January 2019 through December 2020. They further compared alcohol-related diagnoses vs. non-alcohol related diagnoses and correlated the data to SARS-CoV-2 cases and trends in national alcohol sales.

According to study results, monthly alcohol-related liver disease cases increased by 33.4% from August 2020 to December 2020. Alcohol-related pancreatitis cases and alcohol-related neuropsychiatric hospital admissions also increased by 36.5% from June 2020 to December 2020 and by 20.4% from September 2020 to December 2020, respectively. Researchers did not observe increased non-alcoholic liver disease diagnoses. They further noted an increase in alcohol sales by $2 billion per month.

“I don't think that it was a surprise to anyone that there was an increase in harmful alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic. And what appears to be the primary driver behind this increase in harmful alcohol consumption seems to be related to social isolation,” Roark said. “My hope is going forward that we will be able to use what we've learned in the course of this pandemic to be better advocates for our patients as well as to have better understanding to deal with healthcare crises or pandemics that put patients in positions of social isolation.”