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Title: Causality between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis with bias analysis
Authors: Morrison, AE
Zaccardi, F
Khunti, K
Davies, MJ
First Published: 25-Oct-2018
Publisher: Wiley for International Association for the Study of the Liver (IASL)
Citation: Liver International, 2019, 39 (3) pp. 557–567.
Abstract: BACKGROUND & AIMS: A causal association of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) remains unproved. We aimed to quantify the likelihood of causality examining the sensitivity of observational associations to possible confounding. METHODS: Studies investigating longitudinal associations of NAFLD with CVD or T2DM were searched on 5 June 2018. Study-specific relative risks (RRs) were combined in random-effects meta-analyses and pooled estimates used in bias analyses. RESULTS: Associations of NAFLD with CVD and T2DM were reported in 13 (258 743/18 383 participants/events) and 20 (240 251/12 891) studies respectively. Comparing patients with NAFLD to those without, the pooled RR was 1.48 (95% CI: 0.96, 2.29) for CVD and 2.17 (1.77, 2.65) for T2DM. In bias analyses, for an unmeasured confounder associated to both NAFLD and CVD with a RR of 1.25, the proportion of studies with a true (causal) effect of NAFLD on CVD surpassing a RR of 1.10 (ie, 10% increased risk of CVD in participants with NAFLD) was 0.67 (95% CI: 0.42, 0.92) while for 75% increase, it was 0.36 (0.11, 0.62). Corresponding figures for T2DM were 0.97 (0.91, 1.00) for a 10% increased risk of T2DM in participants with NAFLD to 0.70 (0.49, 0.92) for a 75% increase. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study are strongly suggestive for a causal relationship between NAFLD and T2DM, while the evidence for a causal link between NAFLD and CVD is less robust. Therapeutic strategies targeting NAFLD are likely to reduce the risk of developing T2DM.
DOI Link: 10.1111/liv.13994
eISSN: 1478-3231
Embargo on file until: 25-Oct-2019
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 12 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology

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