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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2001 February;92(1):7-12

language: Italian

Prevalence of dyspepsia in liver cirrhosis. A clinical and epidemiological investigation

Grassi M., Albiani B., De Matteis A., Fontana M., Lucchetta M. C., Raffa S.


Background. To evaluate the prevalence and severity of dyspepsia in patients with liver cirrhosis.
Methods. A questionnaire was distributed to 33 consecutive patients suffering from liver cirrhosis (22 males and 11 females, mean age 65.5 years; 24 with post-hepatitis liver cirrhosis and 9 with alcohol- based cirrhosis) to evaluate dyspeptic symptoms. Patients receiving prolonged treatment at home with anti-acid drugs immediately prior to hospitalisation were excluded from the study. Results. Twenty-eight patients complained of dyspeptic disorders. An organic cause of symptoms could not be identified in 8 patients (24.2%), whereas the following were identified as the causes of organic dyspepsia in the remaining 20 patients, in order of frequency: gastroesophageal reflux disease (55%), congestive gastropathy (40%), gastric or duodenal ulcer (30%) and gallbladder stones (35%). Lastly, a combination of at least two of these morbid conditions was found in 10 patients (50%). The severity of dyspeptic symptoms was similar in both organic and functional forms; symptoms tend to occur with moderate intensity, worsening in parallel with the aggravation of liver disease.
Conclusions. Dyspepsia is a very frequent phenomenon in cirrhotic patients; it is normally sustained by an organic cause. The predominance of functional forms in liver cirrhosis is practically the same as that reported in the general population.

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