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Practice Guidelines For Most Prevalent Liver Disease Developed

June 22, 2012

An Indiana University School of Medicine gastroenterologist led a team of distinguished physicians who developed the first guidelines for diagnosis and management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The guidelines were published simultaneously in the June issues of the journals Hepatology, Gastroenterology and the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Naga P. Chalasani, M.B.B.S., professor of medicine and director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the IU School of Medicine and a member of IU Health Physicians, said non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is expected to become the No. 1 reason for liver transplantation in the next 10 to 15 years.

Dr. Chalasani, who is the lead author of the journal article, said this is the first time practice guidelines have been developed for the condition by the three major medical societies: the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Gastroenterological Association.

“Although the condition has been recognized for 100 years, because of the increasing frequency of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, the prevalence and incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is rapidly becoming the most common cause of cirrhosis in the United States,” Dr. Chalasani said. The disease also can cause liver cancer and liver failure, he said.

Practice guidelines offer evidence-based information to help health care providers diagnose and manage patients with a specific disease. The guidelines can include treatment options, dosage recommendations, information on risk versus benefits, and cost-effectiveness of treatments, and they help standardize medical care.

Guidelines typically are written at a national level by medical associations or government bodies.

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