1Internal Medicine, Reading Hospital - Tower Health System, West Reading, USA.
2Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA.
3Medical Critical Care, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, USA.
4Rheumatology, Indiana Regional Medical Center, Indiana, USA.
5Cardiology, Reading Hospital - Tower Health System, West Reading, USA.
6Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta, Augusta, USA.
7Gastroenterology, Reading Hospital - Tower Health System, West Reading, USA.
Background Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), one of the leading causes of end-stage liver disease, is known to be associated with obesity. However, only a few studies in the United States (US) have described non-obese NAFLD, most of which were on the outpatient population. Aim We aimed to investigate the proportion of hospitalizations in the US with a diagnosis code that included NAFLD in the non-obese population. Methods We analyzed adult discharges from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample with a diagnosis of NAFLD from January 2010 to December 2014. We created two groups: obese (overweight or obese) and non-obese (normal or underweight) groups. Basic demographic and clinical characteristics were compared using the chi-square test and Student's t-test. Results A total of 194,787 hospitalizations with NAFLD were identified over the five-year period. It was observed that the prevalence of non-obese NAFLD hospitalizations increased yearly. Non-obese NAFLD hospitalizations had a higher mean age (57.5 vs 51.5 years, p < 0.0001) and a higher proportion of males (43.3% vs 36.1%, p < 0.0001) than obese NAFLD hospitalizations. With univariate analysis, non-obese NAFLD hospitalizations had lower odds of hypertension (OR 0.74, p < 0.0001), diabetes mellitus (OR 0.65, p < 0.0001). Non-obese hospitalizations had higher odds of cirrhosis (OR 1.30, p < 0.001) and decompensated cirrhosis (OR 1.30, p < 0.001) after adjusting for age, sex, race, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia. Hospitalizations with non-obese NAFLD had higher odds of death (OR 1.49, p < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, race, co-morbidities, cirrhosis, and liver decompensation. Conclusion There is a continued rise in the proportion of non-obese NAFLD among hospitalizations in the US. Non-obese NAFLD hospitalizations were less likely to have hypertension and diabetes, but more likely to have decompensated liver disease. Further studies are needed to better characterize these patients to enable early detection, treatment, and reduction in complications of liver disease.