A study published in the British Journal of General Practice provides evidence that detecting early liver disease in the community is feasible, practical, and that feedback of liver risk can increase the proportion of subjects reducing alcohol consumption.
A community feasibility study in nine general practice sites in Hampshire identified hazardous and harmful drinkers by WHO AUDIT questionnaire and offered screening for liver fibrosis.
In total, 4630 individuals responded. The 1128 (24%) who were hazardous or harmful drinkers were offered a liver fibrosis check using the Southampton Traffic Light (STL) test; 393 (38%) attended and test results were returned by post.
The STL has a low threshold for liver fibrosis with 45 (11%) red, 157 (40%) amber, and 191 (49%) green results. Follow-up AUDIT data was obtained for 303/393 (77%) and 76/153 (50%) subjects with evidence of liver damage reduced drinking by at least one AUDIT category (harmful to hazardous, or hazardous to low risk) compared with 52/150 (35%, P < 0.011) subjects without this evidence; in the subset of harmful drinkers patterns (AUDIT > 15), 22/34 (65%) of STL positives, reduced drinking compared with 10/29 (35%, P < 0.017) STL negatives.
Detection of liver disease in the community is feasible, and feedback of liver risk may reduce harmful drinking, the authors conclude.
Source: Feasibility of detection and intervention for alcohol-related liver disease in the community: the Alcohol and Liver Disease Detection study (ALDDeS Sheron N; Harris S; Roderick P; Moore