Workup of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Authors

  • Shih-Wei Lai M.D.,

    1. School of Medicine and Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine China Medical University Taichung, Taiwan
    2. Department of Family Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Kuan-Fu Liao M.S., M.D.

    1. School of Medicine and Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine China Medical University Taichung, Taiwan
    2. Department of Internal Medicine, Taichung Tzu Chi General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
    3. Department of Health Care Administration, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

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To the Editor

%We read with interest Puri and Sanyal's article on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) published in Clinical Liver Disease.1 Because NAFLD has the potential to progress to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and finally death.2 The early identification of persons at risk for NAFLD is of great concern. Although NAFLD is generally diagnosed by ultrasonography, ultrasonography is not always available in primary care settings, particularly in developing areas. Therefore, a simple, sensitive, and noninvasive tool for identifying people at risk for NAFLD would have important clinical value. Recently, Miyake et al.3 reported that serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) could be used as a surrogate marker for the presence of NAFLD. The optimal ALT cutoff levels in their study population were estimated to be 25 U/ L for men and 17 U/L for women. In a cross-sectional study, we also found that people with ALT levels>40 IU/L were at increased risk for fatty liver (odds ratio52.7, 95% confidence interval51.6-4.6, P<0.001) in comparison with those with ALT levels≤40 IU/L.4 In addition, the majority of those with NAFLD have no clinical symptoms. Similar studies in diverse ethnic populations are needed because the thresholds may be different in racially distinct groups.

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