BACKGROUND: Denmark has one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in Northern Europe. The overall per capita alcohol consumption has been stable in recent decades, but surveys have indicated that consumption has decreased in the young and increased in the old. However, there is no recent information on the epidemiology of alcoholic cirrhosis. We examined time trends in incidence, prevalence, and hospitalization rates of alcoholic cirrhosis in Denmark between 1988 and 2005. METHODS: We used data from a nationwide population-based hospital registry to identify all Danish citizens with a hospital diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis. We computed standardized incidence rates, prevalence and hospitalization rates of alcoholic cirrhosis within the Danish population. We also computed the number of hospitalizations per alcoholic cirrhosis patient per year. RESULTS: From 1988 to 1993, incidence rates for men and women of any age showed no clear trend, and after a 32 percent increase in 1994, rates were stable throughout 2005. In 2001-2005, the incidence rates were 265 and 118 per 1,000,000 per year for men and women, respectively, and the prevalence rates were 1,326 and 701 per 1,000,000. From 1994, incidence, prevalence, and hospitalization rates decreased for men and women younger than 45 years and increased in the older population, although the latter finding might be partly explained by changes in coding practice. Men and women born around 1960 or later had progressively lower age-specific alcoholic cirrhosis incidence rates than the generations before them. From 1996 to 2005, the number of hospitalizations per alcoholic cirrhosis patient per year increased from 1.3 to 1.5 for men and from 1.1 to 1.2 for women. CONCLUSION: From 1988 to 2005, alcoholic cirrhosis put an increasing burden on the Danish healthcare system. However, the decreasing incidence rate in the population younger than 45 years from 1994 indicated that men and women born around 1960 or later had progressively lower incidence rates than the generations before them. Therefore, we expect the overall incidence and prevalence rates of alcoholic cirrhosis to decrease in the future.
Patients with liver cirrhosis have a high mortality, not just from cirrhosis-related causes, but also from other causes. This observation indicates that many patients with cirrhosis have other chronic diseases, yet the prognostic impact of comorbidities has not been examined. Using data from a nationwide Danish population-based hospital registry, we identified patients who were diagnosed with cirrhosis between 1995 and 2006 and computed their burden of comorbidity using the Charlson comorbidity index. We compared survival between comorbidity groups, adjusting for alcoholism, sex, age, and calendar period. We also examined the risks of cirrhosis-related and non-cirrhosis-related death using data from death certificates and identified a matched comparison cohort without cirrhosis from the Danish population. We included 14,976 cirrhosis patients, 38% of whom had one or more comorbidities. The overall 1-year survival probability was 65.5%; the 10-year survival probability was 21.5%. Compared with patients with a Charlson comorbidity index of 0, the mortality rate was increased 1.17-fold in patients with an index of 1 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11-1.23], 1.51-fold in patients with an index of 2 (95% CI, 1.42-1.62), and two-fold in patients with an index of 3 or higher (95% CI, 1.85-2.15). In the first year of follow-up, but not later, comorbidity increased the risk of cirrhosis-related death, and this was consistent with an apparent synergy between the cirrhosis and comorbidity effects on mortality in the same period. CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate that comorbidity is an important prognostic factor for patients with cirrhosis. Successful treatment of comorbid diseases in the first year after diagnosis may substantially reduce the mortality rate.
BACKGROUND: Pyogenic liver abscess (PLA) is a rare, life-threatening disease with an increasing rate of incidence. Case reports from East Asia suggest that diabetes mellitus is an important risk factor, but formal evidence is limited. METHODS: We performed a case-control study with participants drawn from the entire population of Denmark. Cases of PLA were defined as occurring in all patients who received a first-time diagnosis of PLA on hospital discharge between 1977 and 2002, as identified in the nationwide Danish National Patient Registry. Fifty sex- and age-matched population control subjects were selected for each patient with PLA. We computed the relative risk of PLA associated with diabetes using conditional logistic regression and controlling for major potential confounders. We further examined whether diabetes increased the relative risk of death until 30 days after hospital discharge among patients with PLA. RESULTS: We identified 1448 patients who experienced a first hospitalization for PLA during the study period (median age, 64 years; male sex, 54.2%). Persons with diabetes had a 3.6-fold increased risk of experiencing PLA, compared with population control subjects (adjusted relative risk, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 2.9-4.5]. In addition, patients with PLA who had diabetes had a higher 30-day postdischarge mortality rate, compared with patients with PLA who did not have diabetes (24.8% vs. 18.0%). After controlling for other prognostic factors, the relative risk of death for patients with PLA and diabetes was 1.3 (95% confidence interval, 0.9-2.1). CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes is a strong, potentially modifiable risk factor for PLA. PLA is associated with a similarly poor prognosis for patients with diabetes and for other patients.
BACKGROUND: It is a frequently held notion that Inuits/Greenlanders are less prone to develop chronic liver disease than Europeans. High alcohol consumption and chronic viral infection are more frequent in Greenland than in Denmark. STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional study to examine the incidence and prevalence of liver discharge diagnosis with focus on cirrhosis among hospital-admitted patients in Greenland and Denmark. METHODS: Register-based ICD-10 discharge diagnoses from Queen Ingrid's Hospital, Greenland, (n = 1072) and Randers Central Hospital, Denmark, (n = 4599) were used to compare the incidence and prevalence of cirrhosis in hospitalised patients during 1998. RESULTS: Five patients (0.47%) in Greenland and 36 (0.78%) in Denmark had a liver discharge diagnosis (OR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.26-1.72). Two patients (0.19%) in Greenland compared to 25 (0.54%) in Denmark had a cirrhosis associated discharge liver diagnosis (OR = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.08-1.45). The number of newly diagnosed discharged patients was smaller in Greenland, 2 (0.19%), vs. Denmark, 14 (0.30%), (OR = 0.61, 95% CI: 0.14-2.70). CONCLUSION: Discharge liver diagnoses were not more frequent in Greenland than in Denmark--if anything, the hospital prevalence and incidence of liver discharge diagnoses were lower. This may reflect fewer cirrhosis cases in Greenland, and/or a shorter survival time, or lack of follow up.
Most primary liver cancers are hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) or cholangiocarcinomas. In clinical practice, the majority of secondary liver cancers are metastases from colorectal cancer. The HCC incidence rate is constant in Denmark (2 per 100,000 per year), which is lower than in many other countries due to the low prevalence of viral hepatitis. The incidence rate of cholangiocarcinoma is slightly lower, and decreasing. The incidence rate of liver metastases is at least 40 per 100,000 per year. The prognosis for patients with liver cancer is poor, but seems to be improving.
BACKGROUND: Despite its biologic plausibility, the association between liver function and mortality of patients with chronic liver disease is not well supported by data. Therefore, we examined whether the galactose elimination capacity (GEC), a physiological measure of the total metabolic capacity of the liver, was associated with mortality in a large cohort of patients with newly-diagnosed cirrhosis. METHODS: By combining data from a GEC database with data from healthcare registries we identified cirrhosis patients with a GEC test at the time of cirrhosis diagnosis in 1992-2005. We divided the patients into 10 equal-sized groups according to GEC and calculated all-cause mortality as well as cirrhosis-related and not cirrhosis-related mortality for each group. Cox regression was used to adjust the association between GEC and all-cause mortality for confounding by age, gender and comorbidity, measured by the Charlson comorbidity index. RESULTS: We included 781 patients, and 454 (58%) of them died during 2,617 years of follow-up. Among the 75% of patients with a decreased GEC (or= 1.75 mmol/min), GEC was only weakly associated with mortality (crude hazard ratio = 0.79, 95% CI 0.59-1.05; adjusted hazard ratio = 0.80, 95% CI 0.60-1.08). CONCLUSION: Among patients with newly-diagnosed cirrhosis and a decreased GEC, the GEC was a strong predictor of short- and long-term all-cause and cirrhosis-related mortality. These findings support the expectation that loss of liver function increases mortality.
BACKGROUND: Liver diseases are suspected risk factors for intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH). We conducted a population-based case-control study to examine risk of ICH among hospitalised patients with liver cirrhosis and other liver diseases. METHODS: We used data from the hospital discharge registries (1991-2003) and the Civil Registration System in Denmark, to identify 3,522 cases of first-time hospitalisation for ICH and 35,173 sex- and age-matched population controls. Among cases and controls we identified patients with a discharge diagnosis of liver cirrhosis or other liver diseases before the date of ICH. We computed odds ratios for ICH by conditional logistic regressions, adjusting for a number of confounding factors. RESULTS: There was an increased risk of ICH for patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis (adjusted OR = 4.8, 95% CI: 2.7-8.3), non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis (adjusted OR = 7.7, 95% CI: 2.0-28.9) and non-cirrhotic alcoholic liver disease (adjusted OR = 5.4, 95%CI:3.1-9.5) but not for patients with non-cirrhotic non-alcoholic liver diseases (adjusted OR = 0.9, 95%CI:0.5-1.6). The highest risk was found among women with liver cirrhosis (OR = 8.9, 95%CI:2.9-26.7) and for patients younger than 70 years (OR = 6.1, 95%CI:3.4-10.9). There were no sex- or age-related differences in the association between other liver diseases (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and hospitalisation with ICH. CONCLUSION: Patients with liver cirrhosis and non-cirrhotic alcoholic liver disease have a clearly increased risk for ICH.
OBJECTIVES: Changes, over the last 20 years, in the diagnostic procedures and treatment of primary liver cancer (PLC) and liver metastases of unknown origin (LMUO) may have affected the clinical course of both cancers. Few longitudinal studies examined this issue. In a population-based setting, we studied changes in the incidence and prognosis of PLC and LMUO over time. METHODS: Between 1985 and 2004, we identified 2675 patients with PLC and LMUO in three Danish counties, with a population of 1.4 million. We computed the standardized incidence rate (SIR), ratio of PLC to LMUO diagnoses, median survival, and estimated mortality rate ratio adjusted for age, sex, and comorbidity. RESULTS: The SIR of PLC increased from 3.2 in 1985 to 5.0 in 2003, and the SIR of LMUO increased from 3.7 to 6.4. No increase was noted in the PLC-to-LMUO ratio over time (P=0.1 for trend). From 1985 to 2004, the median survival of PLC patients increased from 1.6 to 2.9 months whereas that of LMUO patients decreased from 1.7 to 1.3 months. Adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidity did not affect the mortality rate ratio estimates. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of both PLC and LMUO increased over time, whereas the PLC-to-LMUO ratio remained unchanged. Median survival of PLC patients has increased whereas that of LMUO patients remained practically unchanged.