Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in HIV-infected patients referred to a metabolic clinic: prevalence, characteristics, and predictors

Giovanni Guaraldi, Nicola Squillace, Chiara Stentarelli, Gabriella Orlando, Roberto D'Amico, Guido Ligabue, Federica Fiocchi, Stefano Zona, Paola Loria, Roberto Esposito, Frank Palella
Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008 July 15, 47 (2): 250-7

BACKGROUND: The prevalence and predictors of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected highly active antiretroviral therapy-experienced patients and the association of NAFLD with risk of cardiovascular disease and subclinical atherosclerosis are unknown.

METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional observational study. NAFLD was defined by liver-spleen attenuation values of <1.1 on computed tomography in persons who had neither evidence of chronic viral hepatitis nor a significant history of alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: We enrolled 225 patients; 163 (72.4%) were men. Mean (+/-SD) HIV infection duration was 145 +/- 60 months, and mean (+/-SD) body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) was 23.75 +/- 3.59. NAFLD was diagnosed in 83 patients (36.9% of the total cohort). The following variables were significantly associated with NAFLD in univariate analyses: sex, waist circumference, body mass index, cumulative exposure to nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, visceral adipose tissue, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance index, serum alanine and aspartate aminotransferase levels, and ratios of total serum cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Coronary artery calcium scores and a diagnosis of diabetes were not associated with NAFLD. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, factors associated (P<0.001) with NAFLD were higher serum alanine to aspartate ratio (odds ratio, 4.59; 95% confidence interval, 2.09-10.08), male sex (odds ratio, 2.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.07-5.81), greater waist circumference (odds ratio, 1.07; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.11), and longer nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor exposure (odds ratio, 1.12 per year of exposure; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.22).

CONCLUSIONS: NAFLD is common among HIV-infected persons who have the traditional risk factors for NAFLD (elevations in serum alanine level, male sex, and increased waist circumference) apparent. Exposure to nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors was an independent risk factor for NAFLD, with an 11% increase in the odds ratio for each year of use.

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