Incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Hong Kong: A population study with paired proton-magnetic resonance spectroscopy

2015 Journal of Hepatology 62;1 (182-189)

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Because abdominal ultrasonography cannot reliably quantify hepatic steatosis, accurate data on the incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are lacking. We aimed to study the population incidence of NAFLD with state-of-the-art non-invasive tests. METHODS: This was a prospective cohort study. The intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) content was measured serially with proton-magnetic resonance spectroscopy in community subjects. Transient elastography was performed to assess liver fibrosis. RESULTS: 565 subjects (mean age 48years, 62.7% women) without NAFLD at baseline underwent follow-up assessment after a median interval of 47months (range 34-60months). 78 (13.8%) subjects developed incident fatty liver with a mean IHTG content of 8.9% (SD 5.3%). 16 (20.5%) subjects had an IHTG content 11.0% suggestive of moderate to severe steatosis. After excluding 2 men with significant alcohol consumption, the population incidence of NAFLD at 3-5years was 13.5% (95% CI 10.6-16.3%; 3.4% per year). Only 1 subject with incident NAFLD had high liver stiffness (11.1kPa) suggestive of advanced fibrosis. Metabolic syndrome at baseline was the strongest predictor of incident fatty liver. Incident central obesity developed in 31.0% of subjects with incident fatty liver and 5.6% of those without (p

Pubmed : 25195550