Recent challenges facing patients with preexisting chronic liver disease in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors Iliana Mani, Alexandra Alexopoulou.


COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a growing number of beds in common hospital wards and intensive care units being occupied by COVID-19 patients and the majority of medical and nursing staff being dedicated to their care. The present review summarizes the impact of COVID-19 on patients with underlying chronic liver diseases (CLD). Deferrals of all non-urgent activities in healthcare facilities, including a decrease in liver-clinic visits for patients with CLD, inadequate hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) surveillance, and postponement of liver transplant activities are the most important consequences. Delays in viral hepatitis elimination programs were also reported, leading to future development of advanced CLD and HCC. Patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and C without cirrhosis are not at risk for a more severe COVID-19 infection course. However, CHB status must  we known in patients who are going to receive immunosuppression for preventing disease flare. In addition, checking for drug-drug interactions and potential hepatotoxicity reactions from agents administered to treat both SARS-CoV-2 and CLD are required. Patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease appeared to be at a high risk for severe COVID-19, even after adjustment for comorbidities. Patients with cirrhosis may develop decompensation, acute-on-chronic liver failure, or severe COVID-19. The mortality rate is worse in patients with high model for end-stage liver disease score, regardless of the etiology of cirrhosis.

Keywords COVID-19, viral hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, liver transplantation

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (5): 625-633

Review Articles