BOSTON, Nov. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The use of statins has been shown to significantly decrease risk of death among patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, according to research presented this week at The Liver Meeting® — held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Alcoholic cirrhosis is an advanced form of liver disease, causing scarring of the liver. In many cases this is brought on by excessive alcohol consumption. In a mild degree of cirrhosis — or compensated alcoholic cirrhosis — the patient isn't yet showing physical symptoms. In decompensated cirrhosis, their livers have sustained life-threatening damage, and patients are showing symptoms such a jaundice, internal bleeding, fluid retention and confusion. "Current medical treatment has only little effect on the severely reduced life expectancy among patients with decompensated cirrhosis," explains Ulrich Christian Bang, MD, PhD; Gastrounit, University Hospital of Hvidovre, Copenhagen, Denmark, and lead investigator in the study. "Ultimately a liver transplantation may be the only treatment, but transplantation is suitable only for very few patients and it is important to find new medical approaches that all patients with cirrhosis may benefit from." To address this, Dr. Bang's team used the Danish Nationwide Databases to identify patients with alcoholic cirrhosis (noted by ICD-10 code) who had filled prescriptions for statins from Danish pharmacies to determine if use of statins has any effect on their clinical outcomes. Dr. Bang's team used this database to identify 17,424 patients (the original cohort of patients) diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis (based on ICD-10 codes) between the years of 1995 and 2010. The average age was 56 years and the patients were divided based on whether they had compensated (10,339 patients) or decompensated — marked by a history of internal bleeding, banding procedure or paracentesis — cirrhosis (7,085 patients). Statins were used by 7.1 percent of patients with compensated and 5.7 percent with decompensated cirrhosis during the time period studied. Simvastatin was by far the most popular statin followed by atorvastatin.