Clinical Science Research
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Background: Untreated alcohol use disorder (AUD) is associated with poor cirrhosis outcomes. We evaluated factors associated with AUD treatment discussions and initiation in the Veterans Health Administration.
Methods: Chart reviews were conducted for veterans with International Classification of Diseases codes for both cirrhosis and AUD who were receiving care at one of three large medical centers in 2020. Factors associated with a 1-year offer of AUD treatment and its acceptance were assessed using regression models, which included as covariates demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and depression, as measured by the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-2) from the electronic health record.
Results: The cohort included 654 veterans, 68 of whom were engaged in AUD treatment at baseline and 174 who were documented as being in AUD remission. Treatment was offered to 264 (64%) of the 412 veterans with opportunities to initiate it. AUD treatment discussions were most often documented by practitioners in primary care (n = 162), hepatology (n = 45), or both (n = 41). Multivariable logistic regression modeling revealed that treatment was significantly more likely to be offered to patients with co-occurring bipolar disorder (OR 2.94, p = 0.03) or depression (1.50, p = 0.05) or who were younger (0.97, p = 0.01). Of the 264 patients offered AUD treatment, 107 (40%) agreed to initiate it. Acceptance of an offer of treatment was significantly associated with hospitalization in the prior year (OR 1.74, p = 0.05), prior AUD treatment (9.92, p < 0.0001), and a higher PHQ-2 depression score (2.85, p = 0.004).
Conclusions: We identified factors associated with an offer of AUD treatment and its initiation among veterans with cirrhosis. Application of these findings could increase the likelihood that veterans with alcoholic cirrhosis initiate AUD treatment.
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VCU School of Medicine GME Resident and Fellow Research Day Posters