MICHAEL C. GEOKAS, M.D., Ph.D.; CHARLES S. LIEBER, M.D.; SAMUEL FRENCH, M.D.; CHARLES H. HALSTED, M.D.
Ethanol is easily absorbed from the intestine and diffuses quickly throughout body water. The bulk of ethanol is metabolized in the liver, where alcohol dehydrogenase, a complex mixture of isoenzymes, oxidizes ethanol to acetaldehyde. Ethanol abuse produces functional and structural changes in the gastrointestinal tract, such as in the stomach, small intestine, liver, and pancreas. Accumulating evidence suggests direct toxicity of ethanol and possibly of acetaldehyde. Fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, acute and chronic gastritis, deranged structure and function of the small intestine, acute and chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatic lithiasis are some of the sequelae of ethanol abuse. Recent investigations have enhanced our understanding of the functional and structural changes of the gastrointestinal tract produced by the abuse of ethanol.
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GEOKAS MC, LIEBER CS, FRENCH S, HALSTED CH. Ethanol, the Liver, and the Gastrointestinal Tract. Ann Intern Med. 1981;95:198–211. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-95-2-198
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1981;95(2):198-211.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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