Liver Update: Alcohol‐Associated Liver Disease during COVID-19 and A Rise in Alcohol Use Disorder |
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Liver Update: Alcohol‐Associated Liver Disease during COVID-19 and A Rise in Alcohol Use Disorder

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the lives of people globally since being declared a pandemic. 

Pertaining to liver disease, those with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and alcohol‐associated liver disease (ALD) may experience the most severe impact. This could be attributed to the following: having a greater risk of severe COVID‐19 infection on account of a depressed immune system and high‐risk underlying disorders, deleterious effect of COVID‐19 on the liver, failure to comply with regular visits with providers, diversion of hospital resources, and social isolation, thus resulting in psychological decompensation and increased drinking or relapse. 

A rising tide of alcohol relapse, admissions for decompensated ALD, and a hike in newly diagnosed patients with AUD/ALD is thus feared after the COVID‐19 pandemic. Healthcare providers and facilities must endeavor to implement strategies including telehealth and aggressive patient outreach programs early in order to tackle this foreseeable problem. 

Liver transplantation (LT) centers need to adapt to the pandemic and may exercise some leniency toward certain LT candidates with ALD who do not have access to appropriate alcohol treatment in the current scenario. 

The COVID‐19 pandemic is expected to have an adverse impact on AUD/ALD patients. Timely action can limit the impact of this anticipated problem.

Source: Da BL, Im GY, Schiano TD. COVID19 Hangover: A Rising Tide of Alcohol Use Disorder and AlcoholAssociated Liver Disease. Hepatology 05 May 2020. doi:10.1002/hep.31307.

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