Fatty liver disease in an autopsy series of children and adolescents

Hippokratia. 2012; 16(1):61-65

F. Yuksel, D. Turkkan, I. Yuksel, S. Kara, N. Celik, ET. Samdanci


Background and Aims: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in children and adolescents. Obesity is a major risk factor for NAFLD; however, it has been shown that NAFLD is not rare in nonobese adults. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of NAFLD in obese and non-obese children and adolescents.
Methods: The medical records of 340 subjects (aged 2-20 years) in whom autopsy was performed were retrospectively reviewed. Of those, 10 subjects were excluded due to insufficient data. The remaining 330 subjects were included in the study, of whom 264 were normal weight and 66 were obese. All liver biopsy sections were evaluated by two pathologists in a blinded fashion.
Results: The prevalence of fatty liver was 6% among all the subjects and was higher in the overweight group than in the normal-weight group (10.6% vs 4.9%; p<0.001). The prevalence of NAFLD increased concomitant with age. There was no significant difference between sexes in cases with NAFLD. Simple steatosis was detected in 7 subjects. Steatohepatitis was determined as type 1 in 5 subjects, type 2 in 7 subjects, and as overlap in 1 subject.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that NAFLD is an important public health problem not only in obese but also in non-obese children and adolescents. This suggests that whereas obesity may be a risk factor, other pathogenic factors may exist that could contribute to the NAFLD.