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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients attending two metropolitan hospitals in Melbourne, Australia: high risk status and low prevalence.

Authors
  • George, Elena S1, 2, 3
  • Roberts, Stuart K4
  • Nicoll, Amanda J5
  • Reddy, Anjana1
  • Paris, Tonya1
  • Itsiopoulos, Catherine1
  • Tierney, Audrey C1, 2, 6
  • 1 Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 Department of Nutrition, Alfred Health, Victoria, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 3 School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 4 Department of Gastroenterology, Alfred Health, Victoria, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 5 Department of Gastroenterology, Eastern Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 6 Department of Clinical Therapies, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. , (Ireland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Internal medicine journal
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2018
Volume
48
Issue
11
Pages
1369–1376
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/imj.13973
PMID: 29845719
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease globally, with increased rates in high-risk populations, including type 2 diabetes and obesity. The condition increases the risk of end-stage liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma and all-cause mortality. NAFLD is asymptomatic and often remains undiagnosed as routine screening in high-risk groups is not practised. The aim of this study was to determine the rates and characteristics of NAFLD patients attending liver clinics at two Melbourne metropolitan hospitals. Liver clinics were prospectively screened for 10 consecutive months and participants with a diagnosis of NAFLD were further evaluated using pathology and imaging results obtained from medical records. Of the 2050 patients screened, 148 (7%) had NAFLD predominantly diagnosed using ultrasound (81%). NAFLD patients were obese (mean body mass index 30.7 ± 5.9 kg/m2 ), insulin resistant (median HOMA 4.2 (3.2) mmol/L) and had elevated liver enzymes (ALT median, males 47.0 (34.3), females 36.0 (28.0) U/L), and 18% of patients had liver stiffness measuring >12 kPa, suggesting a moderate probability of cirrhosis. Patients with liver stiffness measuring ≥9.6 kPa had significantly higher: glucose (median 5.5 (1.2) vs 6.2 (5.3) mmol/L, P = 0.007), aspartate aminotransferase levels (median 25.5 (26.0) vs 41.0 (62.0) u/L, P = 0.0005) and HOMA (3.1 (3.0) vs 5.4 (5.5) mmol/L, P = 0.040). NAFLD constituted a minority of liver clinic patients, most of who were obese, insulin resistant and hypertensive, and many had an elevated liver stiffness measurement. NAFLD poses added adverse health outcomes to high-risk patients, and therefore, early detection is warranted. © 2018 Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

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