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Alarming Rise In Alcohol-Related Liver Failure Deaths

The common cause of liver infection in the country is said to be hepatitis B virus, but alarmingly among the liver patients, visiting the country's one of the premier institute AIIMS, Delhi, mortality is more in alcohol-related liver failure cases. There has been a sharp rise in the number of patients visiting hospital with alcohol-related liver failure.

The institute says, death rate among these patients is 64% -much higher than mortality from liver failure by hepatitis B virus.

Most alcohol related liver patients admitted in AIIMS die
From 2011 to 2015, AIIMS admitted 150 patients with alcohol-related liver failure of which 96 died within 10 days despite availability of all possible medical intervention. The institute followed-up the rest of the patients after being discharged as their condition got stable, and found that nearly 20% died within three to four months and another 20% in a year. “Once you have got acute-onchronic liver failure due to alcohol, survival is rare. Transplant, the only life-saving treatment option, is not possible immediately because three months of abstinence from alcohol is required,“ said Dr Shalimar, associate professor of gastroenterology at AIIMS. Dr Shalimar led a research published in Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology recently.

No immediate medicine for alcohol related liver infection
According to him, there is no immediate medicine for liver infection caused by alcoholism though, medicines can treat liver infection caused by most hepatitis viruses and even autoimmune hepatitis flare-up can be controlled. “Abstinence is the only way to prevent liver failure and deaths caused by that. The government needs to create awareness to prevent excessive drinking,“ the AIIMS doctor said.

Liver diseases incidences due to alcohol have gone up significantly
Dr Shalimar,  acknowledged that not only mortality rate, but also liver diseases incidences due to alcohol have gone up significantly. “We admitted 427 patients with acute-onchronic liver failure from 2011 to 2015 at the hospital. Of this, a maximum 150 (40.8%) cases were alcohol-related, followed by hepatitis B virus infection (71, 19.3%), hepatitis E (45, 12.2%), autoimmune hepatitis flare-up (17, 4.6%), anti-tuberculosis drugs (16, 4.3%) and hepatitis A (2, 0.5%). In 67 patients (18.2%), the cause of acute liver failure couldn't be ascertained,“ he said.