Alcohol-related liver disease is the most common alcohol-related medical illness, and it is the major driver of liver-related deaths worldwide. However, no screening guidelines currently exist for the early detection of liver disease in patients with risky drinking or those with alcohol use disorder. Moreover, most patients with alcohol-related liver fibrosis, which is the main prognostic factor of progression to end-stage liver disease, have normal blood tests. Abdominal ultrasound is a cheap and readily available diagnostic procedure that is rarely used in patients with alcohol use disorder without overt liver disease. In addition, abdominal ultrasound can detect other forms of liver disease, which are not uncommon in patients with unhealthy alcohol use, and can have a negative impact on the natural history of alcohol-related liver disease. In this chapter we will review the current knowledge about the use of liver ultrasound in patients with alcohol use disorder for the early detection of alcohol-related liver disease, as well as the potential use to detect other forms of liver disease. We will also briefly discuss other methods for the noninvasive detection of liver steatosis and/or liver fibrosis in patients with alcohol use disorder.
Part of the book: Essentials of Abdominal Ultrasound