Predicting Mortality Risk in NAFLD Patients
Before we begin: No, that was not a “grabber” headline.
In fact, it’s our stance that NAFLD can, for many, many people, be effectively treated, and good health restored for many NAFLD individuals; we’ve seen it happen.
With that said, there is a slightly elevated mortality risk in people diagnosed with NAFLD. Among the scientific/medical communities, the argument continues as to whether a fatty liver condition itself may ultimately be fatal, whether other conditions concurrent with NAFLD may contribute to earlier death, or whether something else entirely is causing all the issues.
Whatever the correlation/causation, new predictors have come up as far as who is at higher risk for earlier death directly related to NAFLD. A paper from the European Association for the Study of the Liver gives details.
A Scoring System Gives New Prediction Method
According to the study, three predictive assessments can give a peek into the possible future of patients with NAFLD. These are steatosis (accumulation of fat in liver cells), activity, and fibrosis (scar tissue accumulation). For the study and its explanation, researchers have shortened this to the acronym SAF.
This focus was no accident; researchers had already theorized the results of these three diagnostics could shed light
on the problem.
“We suspected that steatosis, activity, and fibrosis were important to overall risk, but we wanted to validate their impact on mortality over a long-term follow-up period through a validated and simple scoring system,” explained lead study author Dr. Hannes Hagstrom.
Data was collected from 139 patients.
While results – an increase in mortality over the course of the study in patients previously diagnosed with NAFLD – seems daunting, it actually offers hope for future sufferers as a heads-up of the condition, and a warning to do something about it.
The study “demonstrates the importance of having sufficient follow-up periods for patients with NAFLD” and “is an important step forward for the medical community in being able to identify the patients who are at most risk of death from the disease,” a fellow study author stated.