The epidemiology of newly diagnosed chronic liver disease in gastroenterology practices in the United States: Results from population-based surveillance

Beth P. Bell, M. Michele Manos, Atif Zaman, Norah Terrault, Ann Thomas, Victor J. Navarro, Kathy B. Dhotre, Rosemary C. Murphy, Grace R. Van Ness, Nicole Stabach, Marie E. Robert, William A. Bower, Stephanie R. Bialek, Andre N. Sofair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Chronic liver disease (CLD) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality, but the epidemiology is not well described. We conducted prospective population-based surveillance to estimate newly diagnosed CLD incidence, characterize etiology distribution, and determine disease stage. METHODS: We identified cases of CLD newly diagnosed during 1999-2001 among adult county residents seen in any gastroenterology practice in New Haven County, Connecticut; Multnomah County, Oregon; and Northern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program (KPMCP, Oakland, California [total population 1.48 million]). We defined CLD as abnormal liver tests of at least 6 months' duration or pathologic, clinical, or radiologic evidence of CLD. Consenting patients were interviewed, a blood specimen obtained, and the medical record reviewed. RESULTS: We identified 2,353 patients with newly diagnosed CLD (63.9 cases/100,000 population), including 1,225 hepatitis C patients (33.2 cases/100,000). Men aged 45-54 yr had the highest hepatitis C incidence rate (111.3/100,000). Among 1,040 enrolled patients, the median age was 48 yr (range 19-86 yr). Hepatitis C, either alone (442 [42%]) or in combination with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) (228 [22%]), accounted for two-thirds of the cases. Other etiologies included nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD, 95 [9%]), ALD (82 [8%]), and hepatitis B (36 [3%]). Other identified etiologies each accounted for <3% of the cases. A total of 184 patients (18%) presented with cirrhosis, including 44% of patients with ALD. CONCLUSIONS: Extrapolating from this population-based surveillance network to the adult U.S. population, approximately 150,000 patients with CLD were diagnosed in gastroenterology practices each year during 1999-2001. Most patients had hepatitis C; heavy alcohol consumption among these patients was common. Almost 20% of patients, an estimated 30,000 per year, had cirrhosis at presentation. These results provide population-level baseline data to evaluate trends in identification of patients with CLD in gastroenterology practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2727-2736
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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