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Intrahepatic cholestasis during pregnancy predisposes to later liver disease

In a preliminary investigation it has been found that if there is Intrahepatic cholestasis during pregnancy women are more susceptible to liver disease late on.//

This case control study was performed in Finland on 21,008 women and found the above mentioned result. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is an itchy skin condition when bile gets backed up in the liver.

The study is published in the April 2006 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

ICP occurs in one percent of pregnancies, causing intense skin itching and elevated levels of liver enzymes and bile acids

Anne Ropponen, M.D. of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Helsinki University Central Hospital led a team of researchers and designed a cohort study using cases recorded in the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register between 1972 and 2000. no previous study had dealt this aspect. 10,504 women with a history of ICP were taken and matched to controls without ICP based on age at, site of, and time of delivery. They studied a total of 21,008 women, and collected information on their subsequent hospitalizations.

Statistically significant differences in the incidence of several liver and biliary diseases were noted and women who had ICP were significantly more likely to later be diagnosed with hepatitis C, non-alcoholic cirrhosis, gallstones, cholecystitis and non-alcoholic pancreatitis.

According to the authors, "After all the conservative analyses performed in this study, we conclude that there is an association between ICP and several liver and biliary diseases. The results suggest that in a subgroup of patients, ICP may not only be the self-limiting, spontaneously resolving condition that it has been thought to be, but also an indicator of subsequent, often more serious diseases. To resolve the cause of association we have identified, further studies are cle arly indicated."


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