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Relationship of NAFLD with cholecystectomy in the US population

The latest issue of the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics investigates the relationship of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with cholecystectomy in the US population.

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Other than weight-related conditions, risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are not well defined.

Dr Constance Ruhl from Maryland, USA investigated the association of gallstones and cholecystectomy with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in a large, national, population-based study.

The research team reported that among adult participants in the third US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–1994, ultrasonography for gallstone disease was performed, and videotapes were subsequently evaluated for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Odds ratios for the association of gallstone disease with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were calculated using logistic regression analysis to adjust for common associated factors.

The doctors noted that among 12,232 participants without viral hepatitis or significant alcohol intake, the prevalence of gallstones was 7%, 6% for cholecystectomy 6%, and 20% for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was 20%
American Journal Of Gastroenterology

Participants with cholecystectomy had higher age–sex-adjusted prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than those with gallstones or without gallstone disease.

The researchers found that controlling for numerous factors associated with both non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are not well defined and gallstone disease.

The research team confirmed the association of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with cholecystectomy, but not with gallstone.

Dr Ruhl's team concluded "The association of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are not well defined with cholecystectomy, but not with gallstones, indicates that cholecystectomy may itself be a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."

Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108 :952–958
26 June 2013

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