Diagnosis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in children and adolescents: position paper of the ESPGHAN Hepatology Committee.

Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.
Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.87). 03/2012; 54(5):700-13. DOI: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318252a13f
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children and adolescents in the United States, and most probably also in the rest of the industrialized world.As the prevalence of NAFLD in childhood increases with the worldwide obesity epidemic, there is an urgent need for diagnostic standards that can be commonly used by pediatricians and hepatologists. To this end, we performed a PubMed search of the adult and pediatric literature on NAFLD diagnosis through May 2011 using Topics and/or relevant Authors as search words. According to the present literature, NAFLD is suspected based on the association of fatty liver combined with risk factors (mainly obesity), after the exclusion of other causes of liver disease. The reference but imperfect standard for confirming NAFLD is liver histology. The following surrogate markers are presently used to estimate degree of steatosis and liver fibrosis and risk of progression to end-stage liver disease: imaging by ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging, liver function tests, and serum markers of liver fibrosis.NAFLD should be suspected in all of the overweight or obese children and adolescents older than 3 years with increased waist circumference especially if there is a NAFLD history in relatives. The typical presentation, however, is in children ages 10 years and older. The first diagnostic step in these children should be abdominal ultrasound and liver function tests, followed by exclusion of other liver diseases. Overweight/obese children with normal ultrasonographic imaging and normal liver function tests should still be monitored due to the poor sensitivity of these tests at a single assessment.Indications for liver biopsy include the following: to rule out other treatable diseases, in cases of clinically suspected advanced liver disease, before pharmacological/surgical treatment, and as part of a structured intervention protocol or clinical research trial.

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    ABSTRACT: To establish and validate a simple quantitative assessment method for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) based on a combination of the ultrasound hepatic/renal ratio and hepatic attenuation rate. A total of 170 subjects were enrolled in this study. All subjects were examined by ultrasound and (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) on the same day. The ultrasound hepatic/renal echo-intensity ratio and ultrasound hepatic echo-intensity attenuation rate were obtained from ordinary ultrasound images using the MATLAB program. Correlation analysis revealed that the ultrasound hepatic/renal ratio and hepatic echo-intensity attenuation rate were significantly correlated with (1)H-MRS liver fat content (ultrasound hepatic/renal ratio: r = 0.952, P = 0.000; hepatic echo-intensity attenuation r = 0.850, P = 0.000). The equation for predicting liver fat content by ultrasound (quantitative ultrasound model) is: liver fat content (%) = 61.519 × ultrasound hepatic/renal ratio + 167.701 × hepatic echo-intensity attenuation rate -26.736. Spearman correlation analysis revealed that the liver fat content ratio of the quantitative ultrasound model was positively correlated with serum alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and triglyceride, but negatively correlated with high density lipoprotein cholesterol. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed that the optimal point for diagnosing fatty liver was 9.15% in the quantitative ultrasound model. Furthermore, in the quantitative ultrasound model, fatty liver diagnostic sensitivity and specificity were 94.7% and 100.0%, respectively, showing that the quantitative ultrasound model was better than conventional ultrasound methods or the combined ultrasound hepatic/renal ratio and hepatic echo-intensity attenuation rate. If the (1)H-MRS liver fat content had a value < 15%, the sensitivity and specificity of the ultrasound quantitative model would be 81.4% and 100%, which still shows that using the model is better than the other methods. The quantitative ultrasound model is a simple, low-cost, and sensitive tool that can accurately assess hepatic fat content in clinical practice. It provides an easy and effective parameter for the early diagnosis of mild hepatic steatosis and evaluation of the efficacy of NAFLD treatment.
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    ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome and is considered the most common form of chronic liver disease in children. Several factors contribute to NAFLD development, including race/ethnicity, genetic factors, environmental exposures, and alterations in the gut microbiome. The histologic spectrum of NAFLD ranges from simple steatosis to the more aggressive nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Fibrosis and eventually cirrhosis can develop from NAFLD during childhood. Diagnosing advanced disease is challenging and may require a liver biopsy, highlighting the urgent need for reliable, noninvasive markers of disease severity. The mainstay of treatment for NAFLD remains lifestyle modifications and weight loss. Probiotics and ω-3 fatty acids may ameliorate disease progression. Recent data have suggested that vitamin E may be considered as a NASH-specific therapy in children, and there are several ongoing human studies evaluating different therapeutic targets for NAFLD. We provide an up-to-date review of the risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment to manage this common disease in children.
    JAMA Pediatrics 12/2014; DOI:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.2702 · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background The prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing worldwide. Studies in adult populations show that retinal microvascular changes are associated with obesity and components of the metabolic syndrome. In our study we have assessed the effect of body mass index (BMI), metabolic parameters, and adiposity on the retinal microvasculature in children. Methods Fifty-four consecutive children with biopsy-proven NAFLD were enrolled in this study. Anthropometric and laboratory parameters were obtained using standardized protocols. Retinal caliber was quantified from digital retinal images using well-known computer-based programs. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring was measured using a standard protocol. Results In our population, the prevalence of retinopathy was of 53 % (13 males). The 29 patients with retinopathy (mean age 10.91 ± 3.10) showed significantly higher values of triglycerides (mg/day) (105.57 vs. 90.20, p = 0.04), basal insulin (mUI/ml) (17.20 vs. 12.97, p = 0.02), and HOMA-IR (3.37 vs. 2.76, p = 0.04). The patients with a HOMA-IR >2.5 (OR = 3.34, p = 0.02; 95 % IC, 1.07–10.39), and systolic non-dipping (OR 4.16, p = 0.028, 95 % IC, 1.11–13.67), have an increased risk of retinopathy. Moreover, the study of correlation between all stages of liver biopsy (CRN criteria) and the grade of retinopathy showed a positive correlation with fibrosis (r = 0.31) and an NAS score (r = 0.28). Conclusions We found an association between metabolic parameters and nocturnal blood pressure on the retinal microvasculature among the obese children with NAFLD. Furthermore, for the first time, we report the positive relationship between hepatic fibrosis in pediatric NAFLD patients and the degree of retinopathy signs.
    Journal of Gastroenterology 12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00535-014-1024-1 · 4.02 Impact Factor


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May 21, 2014