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Dig Dis Sci. 2011 Jan;56(1):35-45. doi: 10.1007/s10620-010-1241-2. Epub 2010 May 13.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and the coronary artery disease.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Fiterman Center for Digestive Diseases, 200 First Street, SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasingly prevalent and is recognized as part of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Patients with NAFLD have a lower life expectancy compared to the general population, with coronary artery disease (CAD) as the leading cause of death.


We aim to address the epidemiological data of CAD, the possible pathogenesis or linkage mechanisms of NAFLD and atherosclerosis and the strategies to reduce the CAD risk in NAFLD patients.


We reviewed data from a Medline and PubMed search which was performed to identify relevant literature using search terms "NAFLD," "metabolic syndrome" and "coronary artery disease."


Patients with steatohepatitis, a part of the spectrum of NAFLD, have more cardiovascular events than patients without steatohepatitis. However, the association between liver histological progression and the risk of CAD events is not linear. A multidisciplinary approach to NAFLD patients based on controlling related risk factors and monitoring for CAD risks and liver complications is necessary. The combination of lifestyle modification with pharmacological treatment tailored to each individual's risk factors needs to be considered. There is a need for more research on primary prevention for CAD in NAFLD patients and interventional studies for determining the nature of the relationship between NAFLD and CAD.


NAFLD is recognized as part of the MetS and increases cardiovascular risks. Therefore, a multidisciplinary approach to these patients of controlling the related risk factors and monitoring for cardiovascular and liver complications must be done.

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