The 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) takes place on November 4th-8th in Washington DC.
S3-E51.3 – AASLD 2022: A Preview of Patient Advocate Coverage on Liver Health Equity
As many as 10,000 attendees will convene in an effort to advance and disseminate the science and practice of hepatology, and to promote liver health and quality patient care. Key Opinion Leaders Stephen Harrison, Jörn Schattenberg and patient advocate Jeff McIntyre join Roger Green to preview key presentations and posters of interest.
This conversation starts with Stephen’s comments on the presentation covering fibrosis progression rates for diabetic vs. non-diabetic patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD. Stephen says it highlights important elements of the diabetes population, who are known to have significantly higher rates of NASH and fibrosis. This study demonstrates faster progression rates for this population. He makes two notes of interest: First, this is a relatively young population. Second, while the mean BMI is clearly obese at 34, it is lower than many patients seen by hepatologists in clinic. He suggests that older patients with progressed obesity might demonstrate more dramatic results. In closing, he wonders whether duration or severity of diabetes impacts the speed of fibrosis progression.
Focus shifts to papers and presentations identified by Jeff McIntyre. He notes two items, the first of which is Donna Cryer’s Patient Keynote address titled, Liver Health Equity: Overcoming Stigma, Access and Policy Barriers. Jeff comments that stigma, access and policy barriers are themes that actually run through the entire agenda. He cites a range of issues that reflect on challenges facing health equity, but also overall patient care and support. For example, he mentions the broadened use of NITs. He also points specifically to a session called Liver and Queer, an introduction to the AASLD LGBTQ task force.
With Louise Campbell absent, Roger looks to Jörn for a response to challenges facing health equity. Jörn states, “NAFLD has inequality written all over it,” citing far reaching factors including food distribution, access to care and green spaces where people feel safe while exercising. He looks forward to Donna discussing how to overcome these issues from a patient advocacy perspective.
Finally, Jeff and Jörn agree on two public perceptions that need to be addressed: NAFLD as a disease of affluence and food issues standing somewhat independent of health.