EASL 2014

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease increased cardiovascular disease risk

  • April 14, 2014

LONDON — Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease contributed to increased cardiovascular risk factors, according to data from two studies presented at the International Liver Congress.

Researchers in Japan conducted a study showing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as a risk factor for diabetes mellitus, while another study in France concluded NAFLD contributed to the progression of early atherosclerosis, independent of cardiovascular risk factors, according to a press release.

In Japan, 3,074 patients were recruited for a 10-year longitudinal study in which 16.1% of patients in a NAFLD group (n=728) developed diabetes during follow-up, compared with 3.1% in the non-NAFLD group (n=2,346). NAFLD patients had an odds ratio of 2.82 (95% CI, 1.91-4.15) for developing diabetes in multivariate analysis. Researchers also reported that among patients with improved NAFLD activity, 6.4% developed diabetes (OR=0.30; 95% CI, 0.13-0.66) compared with 17.8% of those who did not improve.

In the French study, researchers recruited 5,671 patients with known liver disease, who drank less than 50 g alcohol per day and had more than two cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors without previous CVD events. They measured carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT), and found that NAFLD patients had greater amounts of carotid plaques (44% vs. 37%) and higher C-IMT (0.64 ± 0.14 vs. 0.61 ± 0.13; P<.001) than patients without NAFLD.

Jean-Francois Dufour

“We now have a strong body of evidence that NAFLD may pose a CVD risk above and beyond that conferred by traditional CVD risk factors, such as dyslipidemia, diabetes and smoking,” Jean-Francois DufourMD, education counselor, European Association for the Study of the Liver, and professor at the University Clinic for Visceral Surgery and Medicine, University of Bern Switzerland, said in the release. “This means that health care providers managing patients with NAFLD should take this factor into account in the CVD risk stratification, although the best way to implement this remains to be defined.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

For more information:

Pais R. #026: NAFLD is an independent predictor of early carotid atherosclerosis: results from a large transversal study and long-term follow-up validation cohort. Presented at: The International Liver Congress 2014; April 9-13, London.

Yamazaki H. #023: Decreased development of diabetes mellitus with improvement of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a 10-year Japanese cohort study. Presented at The International Liver Congress 2014; April 9-13, London.

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