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Fewer Complications With NAFLD Than Hepatitis C Virus

Overall mortality similar for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatitis C virus infection

THURSDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis may have fewer liver-related complications and less hepatocellular cancer than patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but may have similar overall mortality, according to a study published online June 17 in Hepatology.

Neeraj Bhala, M.B.Ch.B., M.R.C.P., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the long-term morbidity and mortality of patients with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis. A cohort of 247 patients with NAFLD, followed up for an average of 85.6 months, and a second cohort of 264 patients with HCV infection, who were either naive or non-responders to treatment, and who were followed up for 74.9 months, were included in the study. Both cohorts were Child-Pugh class A, with liver biopsy-confirmed advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis.

The investigators found that there were 19.4 percent liver-related complications and 13.4 percent deaths or liver transplants in the NAFLD cohort. There were 16.7 percent liver-related complications and 9.4 percent deaths or liver transplants in the HCV cohort. The NAFLD cohort had significantly lower incidence of liver-related complications, including incident hepatocellular cancer, than the HCV cohort, after adjusting for age and gender. Both cohorts had similar incidence rates of cardiovascular events and overall mortality.

"Patients with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis have lower rates of liver-related complications and hepatocellular cancer than corresponding patients with HCV infection, but similar overall mortality," the authors write.

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