A multidisciplinary approach to the management of NAFLD is associated with improvement in markers of liver and cardio-metabolic health

Frontline Gastroenterol. 2019 Oct;10(4):337-346. doi: 10.1136/flgastro-2018-101155. Epub 2019 Apr 30.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a globally prevalent health problem, associated in its more severe forms with increased liver-related and cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality. We established a multidisciplinary metabolic hepatology clinic in 2014 and have analysed the clinical data to evaluate the effectiveness of this service. Patients with NAFLD (n=165) who had attended two or more appointments were included. Prespecified clinical data were collected prospectively at clinic appointments and analysed retrospectively. Interventions offered included lifestyle advice, signposting to weight loss services and pharmacological treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors. Median follow-up was 13 months (range: 2-34). 59% (n=97) of patients had type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). 53% (n=87) underwent liver biopsy of whom 18% (n=16) had cirrhosis. Median alanine aminotransferase (ALT) reduced by 11 IU/L (p<0.0001), median weight reduced by 3.3 kg (p=0.0005). There were significant reductions in HbA1c, total cholesterol and liver stiffness. Specifically, in patients with T2DM, HbA1c decreased by 4 mmol/mol (p=0.01) with significant reductions in ALT, weight and total cholesterol. Relative cardiovascular risk assessed by the QRISK3 score reduced in the whole cohort and in those with T2DM. Health economic modelling suggested the clinic intervention among those patients with poorly controlled T2DM was cost-effective. In conclusion, a multidisciplinary approach to the management of patients with NAFLD in this observational cohort study was associated with improvements in liver-related and cardio-metabolic related health parameters and with evidence of cost-effectiveness in patients with poorly controlled T2DM.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; economic evaluation; fatty liver; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.