Aim: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the end-target organ damage of lipid metabolism alterations. There are no clear data about the connection between steatohepatitis and heart involvement. However, many risk factors overlap in both diseases. Therefore, a possible connection between the two organs may be plausible.
Our purpose was to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular disease in NAFLD.
Methods: We studied 41 patients (26 male, mean age 58.71±13.56 SD) who presented NAFLD detected FLI score and by ultrasound compared to 88 controll patients who were NAFLD negative (55M, mean aged 57.39± 9.91 SD). We evaluated liver stiffness as fibrosis marker measured by share wave technology. To evaluate the cardiovascular risk we calculated for each patient the Atherosclerosis Cardiovascular disease score (ASCVD-10-yr).
Results: in NAFLD group, arterial essential hypertension was found in 58% (n.=24) and diabetes in 34% (n.=14); no differences in control group. However, patients with NAFLD had an increased liver fibrosis (median metavir class 1 [IQR 1-3], p<0.05), and an increased cardiovascular risk compared to controls (ASCVD-10-yr 17.21 ± 17.99% vs 7.93 ± 7.68, p<0.05). The Metavir class was directly correlated to ASCVD-10-yr (Spearman r 0.37, p<0.01). The same direct correlation was found between ASCVD-10-yr and absolute liver stiffness values evaluated as kPa (Pearson r 0.39, p<0.05).
Conclusions: Our data suggest that NAFLD may be associated to a reduced life-expectancy also due to cardiovascular disease. These data suggest to evaluate the cardiovascular disease in the course of liver steatosis. Thus, a comprehensive evaluation may be useful in order to optimize the tailored therapy for these patients. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm our data.