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Semin Liver Dis. 2004 Nov;24(4):349-62.

Clinical aspects of fatty liver disease.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Dept. of Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


The global emergence of obesity as an epidemic has made fatty liver disease a public health problem in the Western world. The increased incidence of obesity has been paralleled by an increase in metabolic syndrome in the same cohort of patients. The net consequence of insulin resistance in a large majority of these obese individuals is hepatic steatosis, which over time in a proportion of these patients progresses to steatohepatitis and cirrhosis. Despite the increased awareness among physicians regarding its presence, the diagnostic process has been hampered by the lack of sensitive and specific population-based screening tests. Liver biopsy remains the gold standard for diagnosis as well as for grading and staging of the disease process but its precise role in the diagnostic conundrum continues to be debated.

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