Diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease

Cara Torruellas, Samuel W. French, Valentina Medici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Alcohol is a hepatotoxin that is commonly consumed worldwide and is associated with a spectrum of liver injury including simple steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a general term used to refer to this spectrum of alcohol-related liver injuries. Excessive or harmful alcohol use is ranked as one of the top five risk factors for death and disability globally and results in 2.5 million deaths and 69.4 million annual disability adjusted life years. All patients who present with clinical features of hepatitis or chronic liver disease or who have elevated serum elevated transaminase levels should be screened for an alcohol use disorder. The diagnosis of ALD can generally be made based on history, clinical and laboratory findings. However, the diagnosis of ALD can be clinically challenging as there is no single diagnostic test that confirms the diagnosis and patients may not be forthcoming about their degree of alcohol consumption. In addition, clinical findings may be absent or minimal in early ALD characterized by hepatic steatosis. Typical laboratory findings in ALD include transaminase levels with aspartate aminotransferase greater than alanine aminotransferase as well as increased mean corpuscular volume, gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase, and IgA to IgG ratio. In unclear cases, the diagnosis can be supported by imaging and liver biopsy. The histological features of ALD can ultimately define the diagnosis according to the typical presence and distribution of hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and Mallory-Denk bodies. Because of the potential reversible nature of ALD with sobriety, regular screening of the general population and early diagnosis are essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11684-11699
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume20
Issue number33
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 7 2014

Keywords

  • Alcohol screening
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Diagnosis
  • Histology
  • Mallory-Denk bodies
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this