Saturday, July 27, 2013

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. 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.

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.

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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