Incidental fatty liver finding
"In ultrasound scans of the abdomen," writes D. JOHNSON, MD, of Thunder Bay, ON, "I often receive, as part of the report, the statement 'fatty infiltration of the liver.' What are the clinical implications of this finding?"
Fatty liver, unfortunately, is fairly common and the incidence is bound to increase to epidemic proportions -- thanks to obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, etc. The most important clinical implication is that of chronic liver disease -- steatohepatitis, or NASH, progressing to cirrhosis and its complications. Liver enzyme elevation may suggest steatohepatitis. I tell my patients that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is not to be taken lightly. Weight reduction, tight diabetic control where applicable, avoidance of hyperlipidemia and aerobic exercise/activity are all important aspects of treatment.
Of course, alcohol as a possible cause should be considered as well. Are there any other medications to treat this condition? Not convincingly. Metformin, troglitazone, orlistat, bile salts, etc. have been investigated, but there's no definite answer as yet.