Non-communicable diseases at a regional hospital in Nepal: Findings of a high burden of alcohol-related disease
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAlcohol. 2016, 57 9-14. 10.1016/j.alcohol.2016.10.008
Recent global burden of disease reports find that a major proportion of global deaths and disability worldwide can be attributed to alcohol use. Thus, it may be surprising that very few studies have reported on the burden of alcohol-related disease in low income settings. The evidence of non-communicable disease (NCD) burden in Nepal was recently reviewed and concluded that data is still lacking, particularly to describe the burden of alcohol-related diseases (ARDs). Therefore, here we report on NCD burden and specifically ARDs, in hospitalized patients at a regional hospital in Nepal. We conducted a retrospective chart-review that included detailed information on all discharged patients during a four month period. A local database that included sociodemographic information and diagnoses at discharge was established. All doctor-assigned discharge diagnoses were retrospectively assigned ICD-10 codes. A total of 1,139 hospitalized adult patients were included in the study and one third of these were NCDs (n = 332). The main NCDs were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (n = 148, 45%) and ARDs (n = 57, 17%). Patients with ARD often presented with signs of liver cirrhosis and were typically younger men, with a median age at 43 years, from specific ethnic groups. These data demonstrate that severe alcohol-related organ failure in relatively young men contributed to a high proportion of NCDs in a regional hospital in Nepal. These findings are novel and alarming and warrant further studies that can establish the burden of ARDs and alcohol use in Nepal and other similar low-income countries.