Chronic Liver Disease

  • Nages Nagaratnam
  • Kujan Nagaratnam
  • Gary Cheuk
Reference work entry


The prevalence of chronic liver disease is increasing in the elderly. More than two-thirds of all patients with liver disease in the Western world are due to alcohol liver disease (ALD) and hepatitis C virus occurring alone or in combination. Viral infections are the commonest cause of chronic liver disease which includes alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), autoimmune hepatitis, drug-induced hepatitis and metabolic diseases such as alpha-antitrypsin deficiency. There is no age-related liver diseases, but the clinical course in the elderly differs in several aspects from those of younger adults. NAFLD is one of the most common liver disorders seen by the primary care physician. Autoimmune hepatitis occurs uncommonly in the elderly; nevertheless there have been several studies in the elderly. Drug-induced liver injury embraces a spectrum of clinical disease ranging from asymptomatic, liver test abnormalities to acute liver failure and to a lesser extent chronicity. Primary biliary cirrhosis is now recognised more frequently than previously because of the increased awareness of the condition and the availability of diagnostic tools leading to earlier diagnosis. Provided hereditary haemochromatosis is detected early and treated, the life expectancy can be normal before cirrhosis occurs.


Viral hepatitis in the elderly Chronic liver disease Alcoholic liver disease Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Autoimmune hepatitis Drug-induced hepatitis Hereditary haemochromatosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nages Nagaratnam
    • 1
  • Kujan Nagaratnam
    • 1
  • Gary Cheuk
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of SydneyWestmead Clinical SchoolWestmeadAustralia
  2. 2.Rehabilitation and Aged Care ServiceBlacktown-Mt Druitt HospitalMount DruittAustralia

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