Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Review: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Outcomes

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Nov;13(12):2062-70. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.07.029. Epub 2015 Jul 27.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of abnormal serum aminotransferase levels in both developed and developing countries. Patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a subset of NAFLD, are at risk for progressive liver disease and in need of effective treatment options. A practical approach may be pursued by identifying patients with NAFLD with the highest likelihood for histologic evidence of NASH. Despite decades of clinical trials, no single treatment can be recommended to all patients with NASH. Importantly, there is no evidence that pioglitazone or vitamin E improves fibrosis. Bariatric surgeries may improve hepatic histology in morbidly obese patients with NASH, although randomized clinical trials are lacking. Currently, NASH is the second leading etiology of liver disease among adults awaiting liver transplantation in the United States. The primary and secondary prevention of NAFLD may require aggressive strategies for managing obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

Keywords: Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Metabolic Syndrome; Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD); Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / therapy
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diagnosis*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / prevention & control
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / therapy*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Pioglitazone
  • Thiazolidinediones / therapeutic use
  • Transaminases / blood
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Transaminases
  • Pioglitazone