Burden of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and advanced fibrosis in a Texas Hispanic community cohort

Jen Jung Pan, Susan P. Fisher-Hoch, Chaoru Chen, Ariel E. Feldstein, Joseph B. McCormick, Mohammad H. Rahbar, Laura Beretta, Michael B. Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


AIM: To investigate the potential burden of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and advanced fibrosis in a hispanic community. METHODS: Four hundred and forty two participants with available ultrasonography data from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort were included in this study. Each participant completed a comprehensive questionnaire regarding basic demographic information, medical history, medication use, and social and family history including alcohol use. Values of the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease fibrosis score (NFS), FIB4 index, BARD score, and Aspartate aminotransferase to Platelet Ratio Index (APRI) were computed using the blood samples collected within 6 mo of liver ultrasonography from each participant. Hepatic steatosis was determined by ultrasonography. As part of univariable analysis, for continuous variables, comparisons among groups were performed with student-t test, one way analysis of variance, and Mann-Whitney test. Pearson χ 2 and the Fisher exact test are used to assess differences in categorical variables. For multivariable analyses, logistic regression analyses were performed to identify characteristics associated with hepatic steatosis. All reported P values are based two-sided tests, and a P value of less than 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance. RESULTS: The mean age and body mass index (BMI) of the study participants were 49.1 years and 31.3 kg/ m2, respectively. Among them, 65.6% were females, 52% had hepatic steatosis, 49.5% had metabolic syndrome, and 29% had elevated aminotransferases. Based on established cut-offs for diagnostic panels, between 17%-63% of the entire cohort was predicted to have NASH with indeterminate or advanced fibrosis. Participants with hepatic steatosis had significantly higher BMI (32.9 ± 5.6 kg/m2 vs 29.6 ± 6.1 kg/m2, P < 0.001) and higher prevalence rates of elevation of ALT (42.2% vs 14.6%, P < 0.001), elevation of aspartate aminotransferase (38.7% vs 18.9%, P < 0.001), and metabolic syndrome (64.8% vs 33%, P < 0.001) than those without hepatic steatosis. The NFS scores (P = 0.002) and the APRI scores (P = 0.002) were significantly higher in those with steatosis but the scores of the FIB4 index and BARD were similar between the two groups. After adjusting for age, gender and BMI, elevated transaminases, metabolic syndrome and its components, intermediate NFS and APRI scores were associated hepatic steatosis in multivariable analysis. C ONCLUSION: The burden of NASH and advanced fibrosis in the Hispanic community in South Texas may be more substantial than predicted from referral clinic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1586-1594
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Hepatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2015


  • Hispanics
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Noninvasive biomarkers
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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