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J Hepatol. 2018 Sep;69(3):718-735. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2018.05.011. Epub 2018 May 17.

Burden of liver disease in Europe: Epidemiology and analysis of risk factors to identify prevention policies.

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UK Health Forum, London, United Kingdom.
Departamento de Gastrenterologia, CHLN, Laboratório de Nutrição, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.
Divisions of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Clinical Pathology, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; CHIP, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Øster Alle 56, 5. sal, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom. Electronic address:


The burden of liver disease in Europe continues to grow. We aimed to describe the epidemiology of liver diseases and their risk factors in European countries, identifying public health interventions that could impact on these risk factors to reduce the burden of liver disease. As part of the HEPAHEALTH project we extracted information on historical and current prevalence and mortality from national and international literature and databases on liver disease in 35 countries in the World Health Organization European region, as well as historical and recent prevalence data on their main determinants; alcohol consumption, obesity and hepatitis B and C virus infections. We extracted information from peer-reviewed and grey literature to identify public health interventions targeting these risk factors. The epidemiology of liver disease is diverse, with variations in the exact composition of diseases and the trends in risk factors which drive them. Prevalence and mortality data indicate that increasing cirrhosis and liver cancer may be linked to dramatic increases in harmful alcohol consumption in Northern European countries, and viral hepatitis epidemics in Eastern and Southern European countries. Countries with historically low levels of liver disease may experience an increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the future, given the rise of obesity across most European countries. Liver disease in Europe is a serious issue, with increasing cirrhosis and liver cancer. The public health and hepatology communities are uniquely placed to implement measures aimed at reducing their causes: harmful alcohol consumption, child and adult obesity, and chronic infection with hepatitis viruses, which will in turn reduce the burden of liver disease.


Alcohol; Epidemiology; Hepatitis; Liver disease; Obesity; Policy; Viral


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