Sussex alcoholics dying from liver problems as they drink again when leaving hospital (From The Argus)
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Sussex alcoholics dying from liver problems as they drink again when leaving hospital
Patients with liver disease are dying because they start drinking again after leaving hospital.
Researchers have found people who manage to give up alcohol when they are discharged are almost three times as likely to survive.
The study is one of the first to assess the long-term outcome for inpatients with severe alcoholic hepatitis.
It was carried out at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton in partnership with Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
Researchers reviewed medical records of patients admitted to the hospital with alcoholic hepatitis over a five year period.
They found more than half, 58%, were dead by the end of the time studied, with 97% of deaths directly down to their liver condition.
Only 20% of patients died when they were in hospital the first time.
However, two-thirds of the deaths happened after patients were discharge and were directly linked to people continuing to drink.
The estimated five-year survival rate was 75% in those who stopped drinking, compared to 24% in those who relapsed.
Sumita Verma, senior lecturer and honorary hepatology consultant Sumita Verma said: “Our inpatient mortality is similar to other centres nationally and internationally, which suggests that our medical management of such patients during their initial hospital stay is excellent.
"However, the overall survival is very poor and this is directly related to the high rate of alcohol relapse after discharge from hospital.
“This is despite the fact that Brighton has well-developed and comprehensive hospital and community alcohol services. “
Our study highlights the urgent need for further multi-disciplinary research in this area, especially focusing on the use of anti-craving drugs in patients recently discharged with a diagnosis of severe alcoholic hepatitis.”
Alcohol abuse is costing Brighton and Hove taxpayers more than £100 million a year, with around 100 people admitted to hospital every week as a result of alcohol.
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