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Hepatogastroenterology. 2003 Nov-Dec;50(54):2101-4.

Prognosis of patients with a diagnosis of fatty liver--a registry-based cohort study.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg Hospital, Denmark.



There are very limited data available regarding the prognosis of patients with fatty liver. We examined the overall and cause-specific mortality of fatty liver patients in a large Danish cohort.


In the Danish National Registry of Patients, we identified 7,372 patients discharged with a diagnosis of fatty liver from a Danish hospital between 1977 and 1993. Causes of death were identified in the Danish Death Registry. We estimated the standardized mortality ratio by comparing with the general population.


Most patients (76%) had alcoholic fatty liver. During follow-up, 2,914 (40%) died. The commonest cause of death was hepatobiliary disease (25% of deaths). Mortality was increased 5.4-fold (95% CI 5.2-5.6) in patients with alcoholic fatty liver, and 2.6-fold (95% CI 2.4-2.9) in patients with non-alcoholic or unspecified fatty liver. Overall, in the first year of follow-up, mortality was increased more than 7-fold, almost 5-fold in the second to fifth years, and more than 3-fold after that. Mortality was similar among genders and among diabetics and non-diabetics, and remained increased after censoring patients upon diagnosis of liver cirrhosis.


The mortality of patients with a hospital discharge diagnosis of fatty liver was higher than that of the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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