Elevated hematocrit in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a potential cause for the increased risk of cardiovascular disease?

Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2012;51(1):59-68. doi: 10.3233/CH-2011-1509.


Background and aim: Hematocrit is an important hemorheological parameter. Both hematocrit and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are strongly correlated with cardiovascular disease. However, there is no study to explore the direct relationship of hematocrit with NAFLD.

Methods: Hematocrit levels were analyzed from 1,821 Chinese Han adults, and questionnaire and physical examination were administered to know and suspect the relationship with NAFLD.

Results: NAFLD morbidity was positively correlated with hematocrit levels in both male and female. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratio illustrated that, compared with the lowest quartile of hematocrit, the highest quartile subjects had a 185% and 386% increased risk for developing NAFLD in male and female, respectively. Further receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that the optimal cutoff value of hematocrit for detecting NAFLD was 42.75 in male and 37.55 in female. Unhealthy lifestyles had similar effects on NAFLD and hematocrit.

Conclusions: The prevalence of NAFLD is positively associated with hematocrit levels. Though the cause-effect relationship between NAFLD and hematocrit still needs further investigation to clarify, the elevated hematocrit in NAFLD patients may be of significance to link NAFLD and cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Fatty Liver / blood*
  • Female
  • Hematocrit*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects