Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The Brooklyn Hospital Center Clinical Affiliate of the Mount Sinai Hospital, Brooklyn (Andrew Ofosu, Daryl Ramai, Madhavi Reddy), WI.
School of Medicine, St. George's University, True Blue, Grenada (Daryl Ramai), WI.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects over 30% of the United States population and is projected to become a leading cause of chronic liver disease by 2020. As a result, the economic and societal burden of NAFLD is far-reaching. The cost of managing NAFLD complications has an estimated 10 year economic burden of $908 billion. This review provides an overview of current knowledge on NAFLD, with emphasis on identifying gaps in its diagnosis and management, and proposes future directions to address these limitations. Despite the increasing prevalence of NAFLD, there is limited knowledge and practice regarding its natural history, staging, diagnosis, and management. Though a challenging task, opportunities for bridging these gaps should focus on the development of noninvasive biomarkers, the elucidation of biological pathways, the creation of up-to-date screening guidelines, and the organization of clinical trials of longer duration to determine clinical endpoints and assess the safety of new treatment options.