The clinical features, diagnosis and natural history of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Clin Liver Dis. 2004 Aug;8(3):521-33, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2004.04.004.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has emerged as the most common chronic liver disease in the United States. The histologic spectrum of NAFLD ranges from steatosis liver alone to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is the most serious form of NAFLD. NASH is a progressive fibrotic disease, in which cirrhosis and liver-related death occur in up to 20% and 12%, respectively, over a 10-year period. NASH-associated cirrhosis also can develop into subacute liver failure, progress to hepatocellular carcinoma, and reoccur post-transplantation. In contrast, steatosis alone has a more benign clinical course, although progression to cirrhosis has occurred in 3% of these patients. The major risk factors for fibrosis include diabetes or obesity, an aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase ratio of greater than 1, age older than 50, and hepatic histology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatty Liver / complications
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis
  • Fatty Liver / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / pathology