Celiac.com 06/29/2015 - Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a common cause of chronic liver disease. There's good data showing that celiac disease changes intestinal permeability, and that treatment with a gluten-free diet often causes weight gain, but so far there is scant documentation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients with celiac disease.
The team assessed the for risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease diagnosed from 1997 to 2009 in 26,816 individuals with celiac disease toâ€…130,051 matched reference individuals.
The team excluded patients with any liver disease prior to celiac disease. They also excluded individuals with a lifetime diagnosis of alcohol-related disorder to minimize misclassification of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. They used Cox regression estimated hazard ratios for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Their results showed that over 246,559 person-years of follow-up, 53 individuals with celiac disease had a diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (21/100,000â€…person-years).
In comparison, in the reference group showed 85 individuals diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease during 1,488,413 person-years (6/100,000â€…person-years).
This corresponded to a hazard ratio of 2.8 in the celiac group (95% CI), with the highest risk estimates of 4.6 seen in children (95% CI).
The risk increase in the first year after celiac disease diagnosis was 13.3 (95% CI), but remained significantly elevated at 2.5 even beyond 15â€…years after celiac diagnosis of celiac disease (95% CI).
Individuals with celiac disease do have an increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease compared to the general population.
Excess risks were highest in the first year after celiac disease diagnosis, but continued at least 15â€…years after celiac diagnosis. This much more comprehensive study provides much clearer and convincing data than any of the previous studies, and will likely serve as a baseline that clinicians have been lacking to this point.