Chronic liver disease is a significant health problem that is both prevalent and expensive. Most of the burden of chronic liver disease, on patients’ quality of life and life expectancy and on health resources, is due to end stage disease, also called cirrhosis.
In Australia, the leading causes of chronic liver disease are viruses, alcohol- and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Regardless of aetiology, most of the morbidity/mortality from chronic liver disease occurs in people with advanced fibrosis (cirrhosis), at risk of developing complications of end-stage liver disease including liver cancer. Morbidity and mortality due to cirrhosis is projected to increase due in part to increasing prevalence of alcohol- and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and aging of peopled infected with viral hepatitis. Importantly, in Australia liver cancer incidence is rising rapidly.
Importantly, there are no reliable data regarding the prevalence of cirrhosis in Australia. Information on cirrhosis patients is necessary for planning future needs and for improving disease prevention, surveillance and care.
This study is investigating the prevalence of cirrhosis and its undesirable outcomes, as well as its impact on the use of hospital services in a population-wide state-based sample of patients (Queensland). These data will have important implications for health services planning in Queensland.