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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2018, Article ID 1942648, 7 pages
Research Article

Steatohepatitis Is Not Associated with an Increased Risk for Fibrosis Progression in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

1Department of Upper GI, Unit of Liver Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
2Department of Medicine, Huddinge Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence should be addressed to Per Stål; es.ik@lats.rep

Received 25 April 2018; Accepted 12 June 2018; Published 2 July 2018

Academic Editor: Mario Pirisi

Copyright © 2018 Hannes Hagström et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease globally. The majority of NAFLD patients have fatty liver without inflammation (nonalcoholic fatty liver, NAFL), whereas a minority develop steatohepatitis (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH). Only NASH and not NAFL has been considered to increase the risk for fibrosis progression. The present study investigates risk factors for fibrosis progression in patients with NAFLD, and if fibrosis progression associates with subsequent mortality. Material and Methods. All patients with at least two liver biopsies more than a year apart at our hospital between 1971 and 2016 were identified. Data on plausible risk factors for fibrosis progression were collected. Biopsies were scored for the presence of NASH and fibrosis stage. Regression models were used to investigate the association between baseline NASH and fibrosis progression and fibrosis progression with future mortality. Results. 60 patients had undergone serial biopsies (median interval between biopsies 8.4 years, range 1–33 years), with 26 patients (43%) having fibrosis progression. We found no significant risk factors for progression of fibrosis except time between biopsies. Among patients with fibrosis progression, 54% had NAFL and 46% had NASH at baseline. There was a trend for an association between fibrosis progression per se and increased mortality (hazard ratio 2.83, 95% CI 1.0–8.1, ). Conclusions. In this study on NAFLD, baseline steatohepatitis was not associated with an increased risk for fibrosis progression. NAFLD patients without steatohepatitis may develop progressive fibrosis, and those with progressive fibrosis appear to have a higher mortality risk irrespective of baseline NASH status.