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Gastroenterology Review/Przegląd Gastroenterologiczny
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3/2019
vol. 14
 
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Artykuł oryginalny

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Poland: how and at what stage is diagnosed, and how is treated. A survey study

Irena Ciećko-Michalska
1
,
Małgorzata Szczepanek
2
,
Beata Tobiasz-Adamczyk
3
,
Tomasz Mach
1

1.
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Infectious Diseases, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
2.
Department of Medical Didactics, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
3.
hair of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
Data publikacji online: 2019/09/27
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Introduction
Epidemiological studies show an increasing incidence of overweight and obesity all over the world, leading to an increase in the number of patients consulted due to liver damage.

Aim
Assesement to which doctors (general practitioners or specialist) refer patients with elevated liver enzymes in Poland, how they are diagnosed and treated.

Material and methods
We conducted questionnaire surveys among 1322 doctors of various specialties to find the most common causes of liver disease, at which stage of the disease patients reported to doctors, and what schemes of management are followed.

Results
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was the most common cause of abnormal liver enzymes (59.7%). Patients with liver damage most often reported to internal medicine specialists (59%) and gastroenterologists (27.5%). The diagnosis was based on abnormal aminotransferases (80.8%) and abdominal ultrasound examination (89.9%). Computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (50.2%) and liver biopsy (22.4%) were used to assess fibrosis. Almost all respondents recommended reduction of body mass and lifestyle changes, and less than half (46.4%) recommended pharmacological treatment.

Conclusions
NAFLD was the most common liver disease that was the reason for medical consultations, but its incidence seems to be underestimated due to referral for further diagnostics only in patients with abnormal aminotransferases. The diagnostic methods used to assess the severity of the liver fibrosis and the recommended pharmacological treatment varied depending on the physician’s specialisation and the centre’s reference level.

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