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Abstract

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in the United States. The association between NAFLD and quality of life (QOL) remains unclear. These data are important to estimate the burden of illness in NAFLD. The aim was to report QOL scores of adults with NAFLD and examine the association between NAFLD severity and QOL. QOL data were collected from adults with NAFLD enrolled in the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network using the Short Form 36 (SF-36) survey, and scores were compared with normative U.S. population scores. Liver biopsy histology was reviewed by a central pathology committee. A total of 713 subjects with NAFLD (male = 269, female = 444) were included. Mean age of subjects was 48.3 years; 61% had definite nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and 28% had bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis. Diabetes was present in 27% of subjects. Subjects with NAFLD had worse physical (mean, 45.2) and mental health scores (mean, 47.6) compared with the U.S. population with (mean, 50) and without (physical, 55.8; mental, 52.5) chronic illness. Subjects with NASH reported lower physical health compared with subjects with fatty liver disease without NASH (44.5 versus 47.1, P = 0.02). Subjects with cirrhosis had significantly (P < 0.001) poorer physical health scores (38.4) than subjects with no (47.6), mild (46.2), moderate (44.6), or bridging fibrosis (44.6). Cirrhosis was associated with poorer physical health after adjusting for potential confounders. Mental health scores did not differ between participants with and without NASH or by degree of fibrosis. Conclusion: Adults with NAFLD have a significant decrement in QOL. Treatment of NAFLD should incorporate strategies to improve QOL, especially physical health. (HEPATOLOGY 2009.)