Liver Disease

How is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) diagnosed?

A Answers (2)

  • A Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of
    An initial blood test can start your doctor on the path to diagnosing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a buildup of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. Sometimes it takes a few other tests and diving deeper into one’s medical history to make a final determination. An ultrasound can confirm the NAFLD diagnosis, for example. NAFLD is preliminarily diagnosed in blood tests that come back with high levels of liver enzymes. Other liver diseases will be ruled out through additional tests.
  • A Pediatric Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of
    The gold standard for diagnosis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or fatty liver, is liver biopsy. This is an invasive procedure that requires general anesthesia, so researchers are looking at ways to image the liver to diagnose fatty liver disease without a liver biopsy. Specifically, there are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques that can quantify how much fat is in the liver. Another MRI technique, known as magnetic resonance elastography, detects liver stiffness, which gives doctors a sense of how much of the liver is replaced by scar tissue. People with high levels of liver stiffness are more likely to have advanced stages of liver fibrosis.
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What is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?