Intima-media thickness and liver histology in obese children and adolescents with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease



      To evaluate the relationship between biopsy-proven non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) in children and adolescents.


      A case–control study was performed. Cases were 31 mostly obese children and adolescents, with NAFLD detected at ultrasonography, and confirmed by liver biopsy. Controls were 49 mostly obese children matched for gender, age and BMI without NAFLD at ultrasonography and with normal levels of aminotransferases. Besides standard laboratory measurements, subjects underwent an oral glucose tolerance test to evaluate glucose tolerance and to estimate whole body insulin sensitivity (ISI).


      CIMT was similar in cases and controls on the right side but higher in cases on the left side. Although statistically significant, this difference is unlikely to be clinically relevant because of substantial overlap of CIMT values between cases and controls. Moreover, there was no association between CIMT and the severity of steatosis, ballooning, fibrosis, and the non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis score in cases. At multivariable analysis in the pooled sample (n = 80), age and the z-score of BMI but not NAFLD, gender, blood pressure and triglycerides, were associated with CIMT.


      We found no association between CIMT and NAFLD in children and adolescents. More importantly, there was no association between histological severity and CIMT in children with NAFLD.


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