Long-term effects of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

A new study found that patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) had a significant risk of developing end-stage liver disease and a lower chance of survival if they had non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a form of NAFLD that can lead to cirrhosis. The study also found that most NAFLD patients will eventually develop diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance, which can lead to cardiovascular complications.

The results of this study appear in the October 2006 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hepatology is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.

Patients with NAFLD, one of the most common causes of liver disease worldwide, often have elevated liver enzymes but no symptoms of the disease. Obesity has been established as a major risk factor for NAFLD and since it is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, the number of people at risk for developing chronic liver disease is likely to increase in the future. Studies conducted on NAFLD to date have either had small numbers of patients or relatively short follow-up periods. The current study involved the largest reported number of NAFLD patients originally referred because of elevated liver enzymes and followed the patients for more than ten years.

Led by Stergios Kechagias, M.D. of the Division of Internal Medicine at University Hospital in Linkping, Sweden, the study involved 212 patients between 1988 and 1993 who had chronically elevated liver enzymes. All of the patients underwent liver biopsy, and only the 129 patients who had confirmed fatty liver without excessive alcohol consumption or other liver disease participated in the study. A total of 88 patients accepted follow-up at an average of almost 14 years from when they were diagnosed w

Contact: David Greenberg
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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