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QJM. 2014 Jan;107(1):33-41. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hct198. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

Severe asymptomatic non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in routine diabetes care; a multi-disciplinary team approach to diagnosis and management.

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Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Liver Research and NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Liver Disease, Institute of Biomedical Research, University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.



To prospectively use a non-invasive algorithm to identify asymptomatic, advanced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in a secondary care diabetes clinic and to determine the short-term effect of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach in a liver clinic.


NAFLD Fibrosis Score (NFS) was calculated in 64 asymptomatic patients with type 2 diabetes. Advanced fibrosis was identified using transient elastography and confirmed with liver biopsy. In a subsequent retrospective study, 95 patients newly referred to the NAFLD MDT clinic were investigated and the impact of the MDT approach assessed.


25/64 (39.0%) of patients with diabetes had a low NFS (<-1.455). 39/64 (61.0%) patients had a high or indeterminate NFS and were referred for review in the NAFLD MDT clinic, of which 23/39 attended for assessment. 19/23 (82.6%) were diagnosed with NAFLD, of which 6/19 (31.6%) patients had a positive transient elastography (≥8 kPa). Liver biopsy confirmed advanced fibrosis in 5/6 cases, with moderate fibrosis in 1 case. In the retrospective study, 65/95 (68.4%) new referrals to the NAFLD MDT clinic had a diagnosis of NAFLD. Over a median 98 days (IQR 70-182) follow-up, there was a significant improvement in weight (-0.8 kg; P = 0.024), total cholesterol (-0.2 mmol/L; P = 0.044), ALT (alanine transmaminase, -12.5 IU/L; P < 0.001) and GGT (gammu-glutamyl transferase, -13.0 IU/L; P < 0.0001). 7/28 (25%) of patients with diabetes achieved >5% weight loss.


A significant proportion of asymptomatic patients attending type 2 diabetes clinics have undiagnosed advanced NAFLD fibrosis. An MDT approach to NAFLD results in short-term improvements in metabolic and liver parameters.

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