Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: an underrecognized cause of cryptogenic cirrhosis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Cryptogenic cirrhosis is a common cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality in the United States. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is now recognized as the most common cause of cryptogenic cirrhosis. However, the diagnosis of cirrhosis in patients with NAFLD appears to be delayed compared with those with other chronic liver diseases and thus carries a higher mortality rate. This delay in diagnosis is illustrated in our case of a 53-year-old man who presented with hepatic hydrothorax and ascites, whose workup revealed cirrhosis due to NAFLD. Although a diagnosis of presumed NAFLD can be made noninvasively, a definitive diagnosis requires a liver biopsy specimen. A biopsy specimen is also important for detecting histologically advanced disease, which may be clinically silent and undetected by aminotransferases or diagnostic imaging. Although there are no proven treatments, recommendations for patients with NAFLD include avoidance of hepatotoxins and aggressive management of associated conditions, such as hypertriglyceridemia and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Clark, JM; Diehl, AM

Published Date

  • June 11, 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 289 / 22

Start / End Page

  • 3000 - 3004

PubMed ID

  • 12799409

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-3598

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1001/jama.289.22.3000


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States