2015-04-22 12:24:52 UTC

Updates in Liver Disease Research: Do You Want the Good or Bad News?

The May issues of AGA’s journals highlight important research updates on the most deadly forms of liver disease.

CONTACT: Rachel Steigerwald

Bethesda, MD (April 22, 2015) — The May issues of AGA’s journals — Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Gastroenterology — highlight important research updates on the most deadly forms of liver disease. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Researchers confirm that NAFLD worsens heart disease.
  • One specific cardiovascular disease risk factor — psychological distress — is linked to death from liver disease in a large, general population sample.
  • Improvements in cirrhosis care have contributed to a 41 percent decrease in inpatient mortality.

For access to any of these studies, or to speak with the study authors, please contact media@gastro.org or call 301-272-1603.

NAFLD Worsens Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death both in the general population and in patients with NAFLD. A new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology1 confirms that NAFLD is responsible for worsening of the cardiovascular risk factor profile, even in the absence of diabetes. This finding is based on a case-control study, which found that NAFLD causes increased serum levels of laboratory markers of cardiovascular risk. This information is important to better define the “at-risk” population, allowing for personalized management approaches in such individuals.

Psychological Distress Linked to Liver Disease Mortality
A novel new study in Gastroenterology2 finds that psychological distress, which includes symptoms of anxiety and depression, is linked to subsequent liver disease mortality. This large, general population sample was the first study of its kind, and while this study is not able to confirm direct cause and effect, it does provide evidence that requires further consideration in future studies.

Decrease in In-Patient Cirrhosis Deaths
In some positive news, researchers report in Gastroenterology3 that, in the U.S., inpatient mortality for cirrhosis patients has decreased steadily from 2002 through 2010, despite increasing age and medical complexity. Based on this representative sample of U.S. hospitalized patients with cirrhosis, the absolute rate of dying in the hospital fell steadily by 41 percent from 9.1 percent in 2002 to 5.4 percent in 2010. The decline in mortality for cirrhosis patients was significantly larger compared to non-cirrhotic patients, suggesting that the improvement in cirrhosis survival may be due to better cirrhosis-specific care that extends beyond general improvements in inpatient care. This is welcomed news considering that cirrhosis is the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S., which often requires hospitalizations due to severe complications.

1Siddiqui, M. Shadab, et al., Severity of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Progression to Cirrhosis Are Associate With Atherogenic Lipoprotein Profile, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 13(5): 1000-1008.e3, http://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565(14)01467-0/abstract
2 Russ, Tom C., et al., Association Between Psychological Distress and Liver Disease Mortality: a Meta-analysis of Individual Study Participants, Gastroenterology, 148(5): 958-966.e4, http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(15)00195-X/abstract
3 Schmidt, Monica, et al., Decreasing Mortality Among Patients Hospitalized with Cirrhosis in the United States From 2002 through 2010, Gastroenterology, 148(5): 967-977.e2, http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(15)00117-1/abstract 

About the AGA Institute 

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. www.gastro.org

About Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

The mission of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology is to provide readers with a broad spectrum of themes in clinical gastroenterology and hepatology. This monthly peer-reviewed journal includes original articles as well as scholarly reviews, with the goal that all articles published will be immediately relevant to the practice of gastroenterology and hepatology. For more information, visit www.cghjournal.org.

About Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute, is the most prominent scientific journal in the specialty and is in the top 1 percent of indexed medical journals internationally. The journal publishes clinical and basic science studies of all aspects of the digestive system, including the liver and pancreas, as well as nutrition. The journal is abstracted and indexed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences, Chemical Abstracts, Current Contents, Excerpta Medica, Index Medicus, Nutrition Abstracts and Science Citation Index. For more information, visit www.gastrojournal.org
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