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Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jul;109(7):1020-5. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2014.132. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

Mortality from chronic liver diseases in diabetes.

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Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University and Hospital Trust of Verona, Verona, Italy.
Regional Epidemiology Service, Veneto, Italy.



Mortality from chronic liver diseases (CLDs) is increased in diabetes, but little is known about the etiology. The aim of this study was to assess mortality rates from CLD by etiology in known diabetic subjects living in the Veneto Region, Northern Italy.


A total of 167,621 diabetic subjects, aged 30-89 years (54.6% men), were identified in the year 2007 and their vital status was assessed between 2008 and 2010. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed with regional mortality rates as reference. The underlying cause of death and all comordidities reported on the certificate were scrutinized in order to identify CLD deaths and their main etiologies. The latter were grouped into the following three categories: (i) virus-related, (ii) alcohol-related, and (iii) non-virus, non-alcohol-related (mainly represented by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD).


Analyses were based upon 473,374 person-years of follow-up and 17,134 deaths. We observed an increased risk of dying from CLD in diabetic subjects with an SMR of 2.47 (95% CI=2.19-2.78) in men and 2.70 (2.24-3.23) in women. SMRs were 2.17 (1.90-2.47), 2.25 (1.98-2.54), and 2.86 (2.65-3.08) for virus-related, alcohol-related, and non-virus, non-alcohol-related CLD, respectively.


Diabetic patients have a twofold to threefold higher risk of dying of CLD, mainly associated with a non-virus and non-alcohol-related etiology, which is largely attributable to NAFLD. An early diagnosis and treatment of NAFLD, if any, may have a beneficial clinical impact on the survival of diabetic patients.

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