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IU gastroenterologist develops practice guidelines for most prevalent liver disease


Naga P. Chalasani, M.B.B.S., professor of medicine and director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the IU School of Medicine and a member of IU Health Physicians, said non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is expected to become the No. 1 reason for liver transplantation in the next 10 to 15 years.

Dr. Chalasani, who is the lead author of the journal article, said this is the first time practice guidelines have been developed for the condition by the three major medical societies: the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Gastroenterological Association.

“Although the condition has been recognized for 100 years, because of the increasing frequency of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, the prevalence and incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is rapidly becoming the most common cause of cirrhosis in the United States,” Dr. Chalasani said. The disease also can cause liver cancer and liver failure, he said.

Practice guidelines offer evidence-based information to help health care providers diagnose and manage patients with a specific disease. The guidelines can include treatment options, dosage recommendations, information on risk versus benefits, and cost-effectiveness of treatments, and they help standardize medical care.

Guidelines typically are written at a national level by medical associations or government bodies.

Other institutions involved in the process were the Center for Liver Diseases and the Department of Medicine at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.; Columbia University in New York City; Duke University in Durham, N.C.; Washington University in St. Louis; University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.; Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; and the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

Jean P. Molleston, M.D., professor of clinical pediatrics and of clinical medicine at the IU School of Medicine and a pediatric gastroenterologist at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, served as a reviewer for the guidelines.