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Trop Gastroenterol. 2004 Apr-Jun;25(2):76-9.

Prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in coastal eastern India: a preliminary ultrasonographic survey.

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  • 1Departments of Gastroenterology, S.C.B. Medical College, Cuttack 753007, India. sudhasingh@satyam.net.in


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common clinical condition which is fast assuming importance as a possible precursor of more serious liver disorders, including cirrhosis of the liver and hepatocellular carcinoma. There are no data in the published English literature on the prevalence of NAFLD in India. The present study was performed to assess a prevalence of NAFLD by ultrasonography in a general population in coastal eastern India. Asymptomatic, apparently healthy attendants accompanying the patients attending the Gastroenterology outpatient were subjected to abdominal ultrasonographic examination for the presence of fatty liver; individuals who gave a history of alcohol abuse were excluded from the study. The subjects of the study comprised 159 apparently healthy attendants, who underwent ultrasonography. Fatty liver was diagnosed by ultrasonography in 39 of these 159 persons (24.5%). Fatty liver was seen more commonly in males (26.9%) than in females (13.8%). Persons with ultrasonographic fatty liver had a higher body mass index (BMI) (mean 25.9 +/- 4.17 kg/m2) than persons without fatty liver (mean 22.1 +/- 3.27 kg/m2) (p<0.001). The estimated prevalence of NAFLD in an unselected apparently healthy and asymptomatic population as detected by ultrasonography in our study was found to be 24.5%. This is similar to the prevalence rate published from the west. However, contrary to figures from the west, males appeared to have a greater predilection for fatty liver than females in our study. NAFLD is perhaps as common in developing world as in the developed countries despite a lower prevalence of obesity. Indian males may have a greater genetic predisposition to developing NAFLD.

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