Long-term management of alcoholic liver disease

Jamilé Wakim-Fleming, Kevin D Mullen
Clinics in Liver Disease 2005, 9 (1): 135-49
Despite the epidemics of viral hepatitis C and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, alcohol remains one of the major causes of liver disease. Commonly, hepatitis C and other liver diseases are found in association with alcohol consumption. This association in many instances is noted to accelerate the progression of liver disease. In many respects, the long-term management of alcoholic liver disease is not dissimilar from the long-term management of patients with cirrhosis from other etiologies. One major element is the abstinence of alcohol use. The ability to maintain sobriety has a major impact on the outcome of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis because maintaining abstinence can lead to significant regression of fibrosis and possibly early cirrhosis. Similarities in managing patients with cirrhosis due to alcohol or cirrhosis from other causes include vaccination to prevent superimposed viral hepatitis and screening for esophageal varices and hepatocellular carcinoma with subsequent appropriate therapy.

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