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Reuters Health Information (2006-11-27): New model helps pinpoint cause of steatohepatitis


New model helps pinpoint cause of steatohepatitis

Last Updated: 2006-11-27 10:25:20 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An index based on factors such as mean corpuscular volume and body mass index (BMI) can help differentiate alcoholic liver disease from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a new study.

"Since steatohepatitis found on histological specimens does not allow clinicians to distinguish its cause," senior investigator Dr. Vijay H. Shah told Reuters Health, "this new model may assist physicians in a common practice dilemma; determining which patients have steatohepatitis from drinking as opposed to a non-alcohol basis."

In the October issue of Gastroenterology, Dr. Shah and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester note that they initially conducted a case-control study involving 52 patients with alcoholic liver disease and 151 with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The most important variables distinguishing these 2 groups were corpuscular volume, the aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase ratio, BMI and gender.

The researchers used these to generate an index which was validated in 3 groups consisting of a total of 361 hospitalized, ambulatory, and pretransplant patients. The index, the team concludes, "compares favorably with other traditional and proposed biomarkers."

"It will certainly be interesting to see if future studies can extend the validity of this model to patients with fatty liver changes on ultrasound as well," Dr. Shah said.

Gastroenterology 2006;131:1057-1063.

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