Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s caused by a buildup of fat cells in the liver, resulting in many complications caused by the thickening of the tissue, or fibrosis. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a form of NAFLD.
The Liver Meeting of 2018, held in San Francisco, California, was held to discuss ways to improve patient experiences with these conditions. Zobair Younossi, from Fairfax County Hospital in Virginia, discussed three different factors- the clinical burden patients experience, the outcomes reported by the patients themselves, and the utilization of research to improve care.
Perhaps the most notable report from the meeting was a study examining the frequency of treatments patients receive.
The study was specifically focused on those with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. It found that those who stopped treatment after two years with NASH, had a much worse survival rate than those who stayed on continual treatment. This indicates that NASH should be treated more similarly to an illness like diabetes than it should an illness like viral hepatitis.
Another study looked at patient reported outcomes for those with NASH. It indicated that their quality of life was significantly reduced when their fibrosis moved from stage 3 to stage 4.
Yes, treatment isn’t always ideal for patients. But, these studies shows that it may be necessary to improve survival rates for individuals with this diagnosis. Continual treatment means the reduction in fibrosis could be maintained. This would improve not only patient’s medical experiences, but their quality of life.
You can read more of the updates from this meeting, and more details on these studies here