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16-01-2024 | COVID-19 | Original Research

Higher-Than-Expected Burden of Alcohol-Related Liver Diseases During COVID-19 Pandemic in the USA, with a Tapering Trend

Authors: Yichen Wang, MD, Yuting Huang, MBBS, PhD, Chenyu Sun, MD, Howard Chung, MD, C. Burcin Taner, MD, Liu Yang, MBBS

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine

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Abstract

Background

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to an increase in alcohol-related liver disease (ALD). The aim of this study was to evaluate the magnitude of ALD hospitalization surge during the pandemic in the USA.

Main Measures

A retrospective trend analysis of adult hospitalizations for ALD at acute care hospitals across the USA in 2016–2020 was conducted. Hospitalizations were identified using the International Classification of Diseases 10 codes for ALD and non-alcoholic–related liver disease. Outcomes measured included the predicted monthly volume of hospitalizations for ALD and inpatient mortality rates.

Key Results

During the 2020 pandemic, monthly ALD hospitalizations reached 10,247 representing a 20.7% increase compared to pre-pandemic monthly average of 8490. Additional 4163 ALD hospitalizations occurred during the pandemic, in addition to a pre-pandemic uptrend. The peak of excess ALD hospitalizations was from May to October (monthly excess of 1138) decreasing to monthly excess of 280 in November and December. The excess increase in ALD hospitalizations was primarily observed in young adults, totaling 5256 cases affecting both male (2101 excess cases) and females (2041 excess cases). The age-standardized monthly mortality rate during the pandemic was notably higher than expected at 0.9% (95% CI 0.4 to 1.4%).

Conclusions

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in ALD hospitalizations, above and beyond the pre-existing upward trend, which tapered towards the end of 2020, suggesting a possible decline in the pandemic’s impact. The excess increase in ALD hospitalizations was observed primarily in young adults and affected both males and females. These findings highlight the need for further attention to the long-term consequences of the pandemic.
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Literature
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Metadata
Title
Higher-Than-Expected Burden of Alcohol-Related Liver Diseases During COVID-19 Pandemic in the USA, with a Tapering Trend
Authors
Yichen Wang, MD
Yuting Huang, MBBS, PhD
Chenyu Sun, MD
Howard Chung, MD
C. Burcin Taner, MD
Liu Yang, MBBS
Publication date
16-01-2024
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Keyword
COVID-19
Published in
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Print ISSN: 0884-8734
Electronic ISSN: 1525-1497
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-023-08594-6
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