Fighting liver fat.
Koeckerling D., Tomlinson JW., Cobbold J.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a chronic liver disease which is closely associated with components of the metabolic syndrome. Its high clinical burden results from the growing prevalence, inherent cardiometabolic risk and potential of progressing to cirrhosis. Patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease show variable rates of disease progression through a histological spectrum ranging from steatosis to steatohepatitis with or without fibrosis. The presence and severity of fibrosis are the most important prognostic factors in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This necessitates risk stratification of patients by fibrosis stage using combinations of non-invasive methods such as composite scoring systems and/or transient elastography. A multidisciplinary approach to treatment is advised, centred on amelioration of cardiometabolic risk through lifestyle and pharmacological interventions. Despite the current lack of licensed, liver-targeted pharmacotherapy, several promising agents are undergoing late-phase clinical trials to complement standard management in patients with advanced disease. This review summarises the current concepts in diagnosis and disease progression of non-alcoholic liver disease, focusing on pragmatic approaches to risk assessment and management in both primary and secondary care settings.