, Volume 48, Issue 10, pp 1914-1918

Characteristics of Upper Abdominal Pain in Those with Chronic Liver Disease

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Chronic hepatitis has many causes. Symptoms include upper abdominal pain. To allow for a better understanding of this pain we compare HCV patients with other liver diseases and normal controls on their reporting of pain over one month and describe associations. A cross-sectional, case control study was performed. Three groups are studied: (1) normal individuals (NC) (N = 64), (2) patients with chronic liver diseases other than HCV (LD) (N = 53), and (3) HCV infection (N = 64). A dyspepsia questionnaire was utilized, which inquired about a one-month symptom presence of upper abdominal pain and associated symptoms. There was a one-month period prevalence of upper abdominal pain of 45.3% in the HCV group vs 32% in the LD and 20.3% in the NC groups (P = 0.01). The LD (22.6%) and HCV (26.6%) groups had markedly more pain that was worsened by eating compared with NC (1.6%) (P = .003). On univariate analysis, when comparing those with upper abdominal pain to those without, there was a lower age (41.3 vs 44.5), a higher BMI (30.3 vs 26), and more symptoms of fatigue, bloating, and pain worsened by eating and early satiety. On multivariate analysis, age < 50 (OR 5.1; CI 1.5–17), BMI > 30 (OR 4.1; CI 1.5–10.9), nausea (OR 4.1; CI 1.6–10.4), and pain with eating (OR 30: CI 6.7–133) predicted upper abdominal pain. In conclusion, upper abdominal pain is more commonly reported over one month in those with chronic liver diseases. That the abdominal pain worsened after meals in liver patients but not in the normal subjects was a surprise. Possible explanations for this finding are offered.