Hard clinical outcomes in patients with NAFLD
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- Kumar, R. Hepatol Int (2013) 7(Suppl 2): 790. doi:10.1007/s12072-013-9455-y
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), once regarded as an innocuous condition, is now considered to be the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Evidence suggests a strong association between NAFLD and other potentially life-threatening diseases. A significant proportion of these patients develops progressive liver injury leading to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Unrecognized NAFLD constitutes a substantial proportion of patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis. Several large community-based studies have found increased mortality in NAFLD patients compared to the expected mortality of the general population of the same age and sex. Cardiovascular disease is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with NAFLD and accounts for up to 30 % of overall death. Cardiovascular mortality does not seem to differ between simple steatosis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. NAFLD is associated with increased risk of both hepatic and extra-hepatic malignancy. Malignancy is among the most important causes of death in NAFLD patients. NAFLD is a risk factor for liver cancer even without cirrhosis. The steatotic liver has poor ability to regenerate after volume loss, which may lead to the development of liver failure and increased mortality after extended liver resection. Also, transplantation of steatotic liver results in an increased rate of poor graft function, primary graft non-function, and poorer outcome. There is a high recurrence rate of fatty liver disease in patients transplanted for NASH.