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Mortality caused by chronic liver disease in setting of diabetes continues to rise



From 2007 to 2017, the age-standardized cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma–related mortality among individuals with diabetes in the United States increased 1.2% and 1.9% each year, respectively, results from a large database analysis showed.

“While diabetes-related mortality has been reported to be decreasing due to improved awareness and management, our results highlight the need to better address NAFLD [nonalcoholic fatty liver disease] and end-stage liver disease among individuals with diabetes,” researchers led by Donghee Kim, MD, PhD, wrote in an article published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

In an effort to estimate the trends in chronic liver disease–related mortality among individuals with diabetes from 2007 to 2017 in the United States, Dr. Kim, of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Stanford (Calif.) University, and colleagues analyzed mortality records from the National Vital Statistic System database. They calculated age-specific mortality by dividing the number of deaths by the total U.S. census population for each year and standardized them according to age distribution of 2010 U.S. standard population. The researchers used joinpoint regression analysis to determine trends.

Of 2,686,590 individuals with diabetes identified, 48,761 had chronic liver disease as the underlying cause of death listed on the death certificate. Among individuals who had diabetes listed on their death certificate, the age-standardized mortality for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma as an underlying cause of death increased with an annual rate of 1.2% and 1.9%, respectively. Based on etiology, age-standardized mortality for hepatitis C and hepatitis B viral infections decreased at an annual rate of 4.4% and 5.1%, respectively. On the other hand, mortality among individuals with NAFLD and alcoholic liver disease increased at annual rates of 11.6% and 1.4%, respectively.

“When we defined chronic liver disease as an underlying or contributing cause of death among individuals with diabetes listed on the death certificate, the overall results remained similar,” the researchers wrote. They acknowledged certain limitations of the analysis, including the fact that using death certificates and ICD-10 codes “has the potential for misclassification and underestimation for diabetes and chronic liver disease–related mortality. However, the coding method has been constant over time, so it is unlikely to account for present trends. Increasing obesity and associated insulin resistance likely explain the link between diabetes and NAFLD and end-stage liver disease through hepatic inflammation and various proinflammatory cytokines.”

One of the study authors was supported by the National Institutes of Health. None of the other authors reported having relevant disclosures.

SOURCE: Kim D et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Jun 17. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2019.06.011.

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