1 University of Oklahoma, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.
2 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Diabetes and Endocrinology.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rapidly evolving into one of the most common pediatric liver diseases and currently is the most common cause for liver transplantation in young adults. Therefore, early recognition of risk factors, disease prevention, and diagnosis during childhood is paramount for effective management.
The primary objective of this review is to discuss updated recommendations for screening, diagnosis and management of NAFLD. The secondary objective is to review the extent and impact of pediatric NAFLD in Oklahoma through our center's participation in a multi-center prospective study.
We reviewed updated guidelines from the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN), the approach used in our clinic and data from a multi-center collaboration on NAFLD, known as TARGET-NASH.
Our review highlights that obese and Hispanic children are at greatest risk for developing NAFLD. Screening with ALT should be considered between ages 9-11 years for children with BMI more than the 95th percentile. Liver biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosis of NAFLD and currently lifestyle modification is the only effective therapy for management of NAFLD.
CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE:
All obese children, especially those who are Hispanics or have a family history of NAFLD should be considered for screening with serum ALT between the ages of 9 and 11 years. Children with ALT values that are elevated more than twice the upper limit of normal for more than 3 months must be referred to pediatric hepatology for timely evaluation.