Objectives: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing in prevalence worldwide. This study aimed to validate the NAFLD fibrosis score in the Chinese population.
Methods: NAFLD patients were prospectively recruited for liver biopsy and blood tests. The NAFLD fibrosis score was calculated as -1.675 + 0.037 x age (yr) + 0.094 x BMI (kg/m(2)) + 1.13 x impaired fasting glucose/diabetes (yes = 1, no = 0) + 0.99 x AST/ALT ratio-0.013 x platelet (x10(9)/L)-0.66 x albumin (g/dL). Advanced fibrosis was defined as stage 3 to 4 fibrosis.
Results: One hundred sixty-two patients (age 46 +/- 10 yr, male 59%) were included in the study. Advanced fibrosis was found in 18 (11%) patients. Only 11 of 128 patients with the NAFLD fibrosis score below the proposed low cutoff point (<-1.455) were under-staged, resulting in a high negative predictive value of 91%. Only two patients exceeded the proposed high cutoff point (>0.676), but neither had advanced fibrosis. If the NAFLD fibrosis score was implemented in the Chinese population, 79% of liver biopsies could be avoided.
Conclusions: The NAFLD fibrosis score has high negative predictive value in excluding advanced fibrosis in the Chinese population, and can reduce the burden of liver biopsy in the vast majority of cases. Since there were few cases of advanced fibrosis in this cohort, this study had limited power in validating the high cutoff point.