Effect of alcohol on clinical complications of hepatitis virus-induced liver cirrhosis: a consecutive ten-year study


Background and aims

Although coexisting alcohol-induced liver disease and hepatitis B or C virus-induced liver cirrhosis (ALD + HBV or ALD + HCV) has been the center of recent hepatology researches, numerous controversies still persist. This study aimed to showcase the influence of alcohol on the laboratory values and on the clinical outcomes of patients with hepatitis B and C virus-induced liver cirrhosis.


Patients diagnosed with liver cirrhosis (n = 22,287) from January 2010 to December 2019 were enrolled, and divided into five groups according to the etiology: alcohol-induced liver disease (ALD, 1652 cases), hepatitis B virus (HBV, 18,079 cases), hepatitis C virus (HCV, 682 cases), ALD + HBV (1594 cases) and ALD + HCV (280 cases). Laboratory results and proportion of different liver cirrhosis complications were contrasted between groups.


The proportions of patients with Child Pugh grade C (28.0% vs 18.8%, P < 0.001) or MELD greater than 18 (24.1% vs 18.5%, P < 0.001) in the ALD + HBV group exceeded significantly those in the HBV group. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and that of esophageal gastric variceal bleeding (EGVB) in the ALD + HBV group was respectively 2.01-fold and 1.74-fold that in the HBV group (HCC: OR = 2.01, 95% CI [1.58–2.55]; EGVB: OR = 1.74, 95% CI [1.30–2.33]) after adjusting for potential confounders. Furthermore, a linear-by-linear analysis test showed a decrease in the risk of HCC and EGVB with the duration of alcohol abstinence. Moreover, patients with both antiviral treatment and alcohol abstinence had the lowest risk of HCC and EGVB (HCC: OR = 0.10, 95% CI [0.05–0.20], P < 0.001; EGVB: OR = 0.17, 95% CI [0.06–0.45], P < 0.001) compared to those without any treatment, those with abstinence alone and those with antiviral therapy alone. Similar pattern was noticed while comparing the ALD + HCV group to the HCV group.


Heavy alcohol use increased the severity of liver function impairment and the prevalence of HCC and EGVB in hepatitis virus-induced liver cirrhosis patients. Remarkably, long-term alcohol abstinence coupled with antiviral treatment effectively decreased the risk of HCC and EGVB in these populations.

Auteur(s) : Abassa, K.-K., et al.