Alcohol-related liver disease
Danielle Fullwood Lecturer Practitioner in Hepatology, Liver Unit, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London.
Alcohol is one of the three leading causes of liver disease in the developed world. Patients with alcohol-related liver disease are often cared for in general wards and hospitals, rather than specialist centres. This may be a result of the number of patients being admitted or a lack of referral to specialist services by healthcare professionals. The financial cost of caring for patients with alcohol-related injuries is continuing to rise. This article explores the mechanisms of liver injury caused by alcohol; the risk factors associated with alcohol-related liver disease; assessment tools used to identify patients with alcohol use disorders; withdrawal from alcohol; chronic liver disease; and issues surrounding transplantation. The importance of the nursing role in assessing and monitoring patients undergoing withdrawal from alcohol, information giving and advice on the prevention of alcohol-related liver injury, and supporting patients with alcohol-related liver injury is highlighted.
Nursing Standard. 28, 46, 42-47. doi: 10.7748/ns.28.46.42.e8998Peer review
This article has been subject to double blind peer review
Received: 20 March 2014
Accepted: 02 May 2014