Clinical Review

Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 14, Issue 11, pp 699-704

First online:

Preventive care in chronic liver disease

  • Thomas R. RileyAffiliated withReceived from the Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Penn State Geisinger Health System
  • , Jill P. SmithAffiliated withReceived from the Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Penn State Geisinger Health System

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To identify preventive care measures that are appropriate for and specific to patients with chronic liver disease and to provide recommendations and information that can be shared with patients.

MEASUREMENTS: A review of the literature was undertaken using MEDLINE from 1970 to present. Priority was given to randomized controlled studies, but case reports, case-control studies, and reviews were included.

MAIN RESULTS: Evidence for the avoidance of alcohol and other toxic substances, immunizations, and dietary modifications for chronic liver disease is summarized. In addition, measures that are effective in the mitigation of the complications of cirrhosis are reviewed.

CONCLUSIONS: Preventive care can play an important role in patients with chronic liver diseases. Based on the existing data, the preventive strategies of alcohol avoidance, hepatitis vaccination, avoidance of NSAIDs nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, iron supplementation when appropriate, and a low-fat diet are prudent in patients with chronic liver disease. Once cirrhosis develops, screening for hepatocellular cancer with α-fetoprotein testing and ultrasound, and screening for varices by endoscopy are justified.

Key Words

liver diseases prevention hepatitis cirrhosis immunization diet