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New clinical practice guidelines on alcoholic liver disease published

April 19, 2012

EASL today announced the publication of a new clinical practice guideline (CPG) in the area of Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD), bringing the number of CPGs published to date to eight.

ALD, a result of regular and heavy drinking, is the leading cause of liver disease in eastern and western Europe.(1) Europe has the highest alcohol consumption in the world, at 12.18 litres of pure alcohol per person per year.(1) Despite this there has been limited research investment in this area and the development of clinical practice guidelines is therefore both timely and necessary.

The EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines on Alcoholic Liver Disease, build on the issues raised at the Monothematic Conference on Alcoholic Liver Disease, held in Athens in 2010 and have been developed with three main aims. These are to:

Provide physicians with clinical recommendations
Emphasise the fact that alcohol can cause several liver diseases (steatosis, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis), all of which may coexist in the same patient
Identify areas of interest for future research, including clinical trials

The guidelines cover the burden of ALD, management of alcohol abuse and dependence, pathogenesis, risk factors for disease progression, diagnosis, alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis and liver transplantation. The Clinical Practice Guidelines will be published in August in EASL's Journal of Hepatology.

In addition, EASL has also published a revised CPG on the Management of Chronic Hepatitis B. This update incorporates changes to a number of areas including: new indications for liver biopsy and the treatment of HBeAg-negative patients; the recommendation for less frequent HBV DNA testing under ETV or TDF; and the provision of more detailed recommendations for specific sub-groups, particularly HBV and pregnancy and HBV and immunosuppression.

CPGs define the use of diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive modalities, including non-invasive and invasive procedures, in the management of patients with various liver diseases. They are intended to assist physicians and other healthcare providers, as well as patients and interested individuals, in the clinical decision making process by describing a range of generally accepted approaches for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of specific liver diseases.

In addition, a CPG is in development for the Management of Acute Liver Failure. More information on EASL's CPGs can be found on the EASL website at http://www.easl.eu/_clinical-practice-guideline.

References

1. Handbook for action to reduces alcohol-related harm. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. 2009. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/43320/E92820.pdf. Accessed 04.04.12.

European Association for the Study of the Liver


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