Are there Predictive Factors of Severe Liver Fibrosis in Morbidly Obese Patients with Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis?
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Background: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a clinicopathological entity characterized by the presence of steatosis and lobular and/or portal inflammation with or without fibrosis. Patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver and fibrosis on liver biopsy have increased liver-related deaths. Methods: 181 wedge liver biopsies, taken at the time of bariatric surgery from patients with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 47, were studied. In all cases, the liver biopsy was performed without knowledge of the patient's clinical and biochemical data, which were then examined with univariate and multivariate analysis. Results: Diagnosis of NASH was established in 105 patients (91%); 74 patients (70%) showed mild steatosis, 20 (19%) had moderate inflammation and fibrosis, and 11 (10%) had steatosis with severe fibrosis. None of the liver biopsies showed cirrhosis. Age was the only independent predictor of moderate and severe fibrosis (p=0.001). Conclusions: Since only age was a predictor of moderate or severe fibrosis, and no clinical or biochemical abnormalities detected slowly progressive hepatic fibrosis, liver biopsy is the only means of detecting progression to more advanced liver disease in a NASH patient.
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