Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is the most severe histologic form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is emerging as the most common clinically important form of liver disease in obese patients. The prevalence of NASH may increase with the rise in the rate of obesity and metabolic syndrome in affluent communities.
The aim of this work is to describe clinical and histopathologic findings and correlate liver tissue damage to the length of duration of the obesity in the group of patients who underwent surgery as obesity treatment.
Eighty-seven severely or morbidly obese patients underwent gastroplasty. Each patient was evaluated with complete clinical and laboratory medical assessment together with wedge liver biopsy taken from 59 unselected patients during the surgery. Patients were followed up for 41 months. Repeat liver biopsy was taken from 10 patients. Pathologic analysis recorded the presence and degree of steatosis, portal and lobular inflammation and fibrosis. Age, body mass index (BMI), and laboratory assessment correlated with pathologic data.
Male patients showed more pronounced metabolic syndrome and fatty liver damage. Patients who become obese in childhood or as teenagers showed no differences in metabolic syndrome and NAFLD in mature age. There was statistically significant association between BMA, elevated transaminases, NAFLD, and fibrosis. Significant weight reduction was observed within first year after surgery, was slower in the second year, and stabilized within third year. Remarkable improvement followed in biological markers of metabolic syndrome. Ninety-six percent of initial liver biopsies had steatosis; 16% developed steatohepatitis and mild perivenular fibrosis. Significant improvement of the degenerative and inflammatory hepatic lesions in repeated biopsies and liver function readings was noted within 8 months after surgery.
Obesity is a major and independent risk factor for the metabolic syndrome, NAFLD, NASH, and fibrosis. Surgical treatment improves metabolic abnormalities and hepatic lesions in long-term observations.