liver transplantation in pandemic

The confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic had a strong impact worldwide. The sudden need to shelter at home radically changed the way we did most of our activities. However, a less expected consequence was the increase in the need for liver transplants derived from the pandemic.

As the confinement spread, health experts began to warn of the effects that isolation could have on people’s mental health or the psychosocial development of children who were not attending school. But probably no one predicted that waiting lists for liver transplants would be affected.

According to the data, researchers found a positive correlation between the increase in retail alcohol sales in the United States and a 50% increase in prognosis for people who underwent a liver transplant or were added to it. The waiting list is a result of alcoholic hepatitis.

This disease occurs when the liver loses its ability to process alcohol due to excessive consumption. This point is usually reached after years, but there are times when a short period of abuse can trigger the condition.

Although Americans in a survey conducted by the SAMHSA said they did not increase their consumption of alcoholic beverages during the pandemic, the data the researchers found could contradict them.

As research shows, as of March 2020, the sale of alcohol increased and remained at the same level for the rest of the year. At the same time, between March 2020 and January 2021, 51,488 people were included on the waiting list for liver transplantation, while 32,320 underwent the procedure due to alcoholic hepatitis.

“While we cannot confirm causation, this disproportionate increase in association with increased alcohol sales may indicate a relationship to known increases in alcohol misuse during Covid-19,” the researchers wrote.

Until now, it remains challenging to predict the consequences that the pandemic will leave. However, authorities such as the UN have pointed out the damage that has already begun to be seen in mental health and economic-social aspects.

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