Researchers at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, reported that non-obese patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have dramatically higher risk for early mortality compared with obese patients with NAFLD. The study was presented at the 2014 Digestive Disease Week (DDW) meeting.
Dr. Paul Angulo led the study that looked at 125 lean patients (body mass index of less than 25 kg/m2) and 965 overweight or obese patients (body mass index greater than 25 kg/m2) with NAFLD.
The team found that lean patients experienced more severe inflammation of liver tissue (lobular inflammation). Further, after an average follow-up time of 133 months, researchers found that the risk of mortality in lean patients with NAFLD was 11.8 times higher than that of the overweight or obese patients. The lean patients did see benefits in a lower prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and hypertriglyceridemia.
The team, which reported surprise at the findings, is currently studying an even larger population of lean and obese NAFLD patients. They hope to explore the effect of fat distribution on the mortality risk.
Reference: Angulo, Paul et al. Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2014: Abstract 379. Presented May 4, 2014.