[NASH (Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis): Fatty Liver or Fatal Liver Disease?]
ABSTRACT Introduction: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) was first described in 1980 and has emerged from an anecdotal disease to a widely distributed liver disease in the current decade. Methods: This review is based on publications in PubMed and our own experiences and deals with basic pathophysiological aspects, diagnostic, and therapeutic tools as well as with the modern management of this serious liver disease. Results: For a long time the potenial for serious liver destruction and enhanced liver mortality by NASH has been observed. The recognition of the metabolic origin of NASH has contributed to diagnostic as well as therapeutic approaches. Since then patients with metabolic syndrome are often screened for liver disease. NASH might worsen other chronic liver diseases but should be judged as an independent illness rather than the exclusion of other potential liver diseases. Furthermore, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis has systemic consequences concerning insulin resistance, metabolic complications and cardiovascular diseases. Perspectives: Future research should concentrate on non-invasive screening strategies, identification of risk factors, evaluation of hepatocellular carcinogenesis and new therapeutic targets.