Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis in a Sample of Iranian Adult Population: Age is a Risk Factor

Mehran Rogha, Nazila Najafi, Azadeh Azari, Mahboubeh Kaji, Zahra Pourmoghaddas, Fereshteh Rajabi, Mina Rezaee



Background: Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) with the prevalence of about 2-3 percent among different populations is a cause of cirrhosis. Detecting preventable causes in Iranian population could be useful in decreasing the disease and its complications. This study assessed the prevalence of NASH in adult population living in Isfahan city as a sample of Iranian population.

Methods: Blood samples of 2030 individuals referring to Dr. Shariati Hospital for routine health check-up were collected. All individuals with high liver enzymes [aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and/or Alanine aminotranferease (ALT)] included in the study. Known causes of altered liver enzymes by doing specific biomedical laboratory tests and tacking the history were excluded. For the rest of the cases, second blood samples were obtained 6 months later and any cases with persistent enzyme elevation were surveyed with ultrasound.

Results: In the first survey, 234 individuals (11.5 %) had ALT level of more than 40 U/L. By rechecking samples after 6 months, 50% of all high serum ALT individuals remained at high level. After conducting complementary biochemical tests, 3.3% of the population was considered to have NASH. 20% of NASH cases had not any abnormal findings in ultrasound. Hypercholesterolemia was the most co-existing risk factor in NASH cases. We found a reverse correlation between ALT level and age (P = 0.02).

Conclusion: The prevalence of NASH was comparable with other countries. According to the meaningful correlation between ALT level and age, preventive interactions in younger individuals would decrease the incidence of NASH.

Key words: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, Adult, Population-based study, Liver enzyme, Iran

Full Text: