The natural history of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in the community remains unknown.
Dr Paul Angulo and colleagues determined survival and liver-related morbidity among community-based nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients.
The investigative team identified 420 patients diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in Olmsted County, Minnesota, between 1980 and 2000.
|Liver disease occurred in 2% of subjects diagnosed in the community|
The patients were identified using the resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project.
The investigators reviewed medical records to confirm diagnosis and determine outcomes up to 2003.
Overall survival was compared with the general Minnesota population of the same age and sex.
The investigators noted that the mean age at diagnosis was 49 years, and 49% of patients were male.
The team reported that the mean follow-up was 8 years, culminating in 3192 person-years follow-up.
Survival was lower than the expected survival for the general population, and 13% of patients died overall.
The investigative team found that higher mortality was associated with age, impaired fasting glucose, and cirrhosis.
Liver disease was the 3rd leading cause of death, as compared with the 13th leading cause of death in the general population, occurring in 2% of subjects.
The team noted that 5% of patients were diagnosed with cirrhosis, and 3 % developed liver-related complications.
The investigators observed that the liver-related complications included 1 requiring transplantation and 2 developing hepatocellular carcinoma.
Dr Angulo's team concluded, “Mortality among community-diagnosed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients is higher than the general population.”
“It is associated with older age, impaired fasting glucose, and cirrhosis.”
“Liver-related death is a leading cause of mortality, although the absolute risk is low.”