Study finds significant surge in liver transplantation for alcoholic hepatitis during the pandemic

Registrations for the national organ transplant waiting list related to alcoholic hepatitis as well as the number of deceased donor liver transplants for the inflammatory liver condition rose significantly during the pandemic, Michigan Medicine researchers found.

Both measures exceeded their predicted volume by more than 50 percent -; and both were associated with increasing alcohol sales.

While we cannot confirm causality, this study provides evidence for an alarming increase in alcoholic hepatitis associated with known increases in alcohol misuse during COVID-19. And it highlights the need for public health interventions around excessive alcohol consumption."

Maia S. Anderson, M.D., general surgery resident at Michigan Medicine and first author of the study

Alcoholic hepatitis is typically caused by heavy alcohol consumption on a regular basis and can lead to permanent scar tissue in the liver and other long-term damage, like liver failure, if left untreated.

Source:
Journal reference:

Anderson, M.S., et al. (2021) Association of COVID-19 With NewWaiting List Registrations and Liver Transplantation for Alcoholic Hepatitis in the United States. JAMA Network Open. doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.31132.

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