Early kidney dysfunction in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease - is transient elastography useful as a screening method?

07 Jun. 2021 |

Marta Freitas, Vítor Macedo Silva, Sofia Xavier, Joana Magalhes, Carla Marinho, José Cotter


Introduction: Increasing evidence suggests an association between metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Timely prediction of early kidney dysfunction (EKD) is thus essential in this population, although a screening method is not stablished. We aimed to evaluate the role of transient elastography (TE) in predicting EKD in patients with MAFLD.

Methods: Prospective cohort study that included patients with MAFLD scheduled for evaluation, between May/2019 and January/2020. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data, and TE parameters were obtained. EKD was defined as microalbuminuria (urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio 30-300mg/g) and estimated glomerular filtration rate≥60mL/min/1.73m2. Significant liver fibrosis was defined as liver stiffness measurement (LSM)≥8.2kPa.

Results: Included 45 patients with MALFD, 53.3% female gender, mean age of 53.5±10.9years. EKD was found in 17.8% of patients. MAFLD patients with EKD were significantly more obese (body mass index≥30) (75.0% vs 32.4%,p=0.045) and had significantly higher LSM (8.5±4.1 vs 5.8±2.2kPa,p=0.01). After adjustment of potential confounders for EKD the presence of liver fibrosis, remained a significant predictor of EKD, being associated with a 14.3-fold increased risk of EKD (p=0.04). The optimal cutoff value of LSM to predict EKD was 6.1kPa (sensitivity:85.7%; specificity:67.6%).

Conclusion: Significant liver fibrosis is associated with a significant increased risk of EKD in patients with MAFLD, regardless of other comorbidities. Higher levels of LSM, particularly >6.1kPa, alert for timely identification of EKD and associated comorbidities, as well as their control, in order to prevent the development of CKD in the long term.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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