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High-Acquity Alcohol Complications

A recent brief report published in JAMA Health Forum used longitudinal cohort data to examine hospitalization trends due to high-acuity alcohol complications before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shuey and colleagues note that the pandemic was associated with increased alcohol consumption and that these increases may be associated with increased high-acuity alcohol complications (e.g., liver disease episodes). As such, these authors compared rates of alcohol-related Medicare claims to determine if there was an increase in high-acuity alcohol complications following the pandemic onset. Results found that there were a greater number of claims in 4 of the 18 post-pandemic months compared to the pre-pandemic months. Women aged 40-64 demonstrated the greatest number of months with significant increases in claims post-pandemic (10 of 18 post-pandemic months). Further, this group demonstrated increased alcohol-related liver diseases episodes in 16 of 18 post-pandemic months compare to pre-pandemic months, suggesting this demographic group may be particularly at-risk for increased alcohol complications. The authors report that their findings speak to the need to increase access to treatment and medical care for alcohol use, particularly in the context of global health crises. The full report can be accessed here: High-Acuity Alcohol-Related Complications During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Health Policy | JAMA Health Forum | JAMA Network

Shuey, B., Halbisen, A., Lakoma, M., Zhang, F., Argetsinger, S., Williams, E. C., … & Wharam, J. F. (2024, April). High-Acuity Alcohol-Related Complications During the COVID-19 Pandemic. In JAMA Health Forum (Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. e240501-e240501). American Medical Association.