Washington: A new study has found that a fatty liver can risk your heart. The study from the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, Pierre and Marie Curie University concluded that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and therefore, cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Their findings recommend strict monitoring of cardiovascular health and metabolic complications in patients with NAFLD.
“Evidence indicates that the fatty and inflamed liver expresses several pro-inflammatory and procoagulant factors, as well as genes involved in accelerated atherogenesis,” explained lead investigator Raluca Pais.
Senior author Vlad Ratziu added, “This raises the possibility that the link between NAFLD and cardiovascular mortality might not simply be mediated by shared, underlying, common risk factors, but rather that NAFLD independently contributes to increasing this risk.”
Investigators undertook a large retrospective study of close to 6,000 patients referred to the Primary Cardiovascular Prevention Center at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, Paris between 1995 and 2012 to assess whether NAFLD is incidental to or is the cause of atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries, the major blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain, neck, and face.
The team concluded that in patients with metabolic syndrome at risk for cardiovascular events, NAFLD contributes to early atherosclerosis and its progression, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
“Clinicians should be aware of the increased cardiovascular risk in patients with NAFLD and consequently screen for conventional cardiovascular risk factors and use accepted risk calculators to make decisions regarding preventative pharmacotherapy, including statins,” commented noted experts Leon Adams of the University of Western Australia and Quentin M. Anstee of Newcastle University, UK, in an accompanying editorial.
The study is published in the Journal of Hepatology.