Management of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: an evidence-based clinical practice review

World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Sep 14;20(34):12182-201. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i34.12182.


Aim: To build a consensus among Chilean specialists on the appropriate management of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in clinical practice.

Methods: NAFLD has now reached epidemic proportions worldwide. The optimal treatment for NAFLD has not been established due to a lack of evidence-based recommendations. An expert panel of members of the Chilean Gastroenterological Society and the Chilean Hepatology Association conducted a structured analysis of the current literature on NAFLD therapy. The quality of the evidence and the level of recommendations supporting each statement were assessed according to the recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. A modified three-round Delphi technique was used to reach a consensus among the experts.

Results: A group of thirteen experts was established. The survey included 17 open-ended questions that were distributed among the experts, who assessed the articles associated with each question. The levels of agreement achieved by the panel were 93.8% in the first round and 100% in the second and third rounds. The final recommendations support the indication of lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, for all patients with NAFLD. Proven pharmacological therapies include only vitamin E and pioglitazone, which can be used in nondiabetic patients with biopsy-proven nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (the progressive form of NAFLD), although the long-term safety and efficacy of these therapies have not yet been established.

Conclusion: Current NAFLD management is rapidly evolving, and new pathophysiology-based therapies are expected to be introduced in the near future. All NAFLD patients should be evaluated using a three-focused approach that considers the risks of liver disease, diabetes and cardiovascular events.

Keywords: Consensus; Evidence-based medicine; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Steatosis; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diagnosis
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / epidemiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / therapy*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome