Management of cardiovascular risk in patients with metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease

Eur J Intern Med. 2024 Apr:122:28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2023.11.012. Epub 2023 Nov 25.

Abstract

The novel term Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Steatotic Liver Disease (MASLD) is proposed to replace non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to highlight the close association with the metabolic syndrome. MASLD encompasses patients with liver steatosis and at least one of five cardiometabolic risk factors which implies that these patients are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Indeed, the prevalence of CVD in MASLD patients is increased and CVD is recognized as the most common cause of death in MASLD patients. We here present an update on the pathophysiology of CVD in MASLD, discuss the risk factors, and suggest screening for CVD in patients with MASLD. Currently, there is no FDA-approved pharmacological treatment for MASLD, and no specific treatment recommended for CVD in patients with MASLD. Thus, the treatment strategy is based on weight loss and a reduction and treatment of CVD risk factors. We recommend screening of MASLD patients for CVD using the SCORE2 system with guidance to specific treatment algorithms. In all patients with CVD risk factors, lifestyle intervention to induce weight loss through diet and exercise is recommended. Especially a Mediterranean diet may improve hyperlipidemia and if further treatment is needed, statins should be used as first-line treatment. Further, anti-hypertensive drugs should be used to treat hypertension. With the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) the risk of MASLD and CVD is expected to increase, and preventive measures, screening, and effective treatments are highly needed to reduce morbidity and mortality in MASLD patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / complications
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss