Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and clinical outcomes in chronic kidney disease

Rajkumar Chinnadurai, James Ritchie, Darren Green, Philip Kalra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an independent risk factor associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD). NAFLD is threatening to become a major public health problem in association with the metabolic syndrome. The association of NAFLD with outcomes in patients with advanced CKD has not been evaluated. In this study, the prevalence of NAFLD and its impact on cardiovascular and renal outcomes and mortality were determined in a large secondary care CKD cohort.

Methods: The study was conducted on 1148 CKD patients within a cohort of 3061 CKD patients, who had undergone ultrasound imaging of the liver over a 15-year period. A propensity-matched population from within the cohort was also included. Cox regression analysis was used to study the association of NAFLD with cardiovascular events, end-stage renal disease and mortality and linear regression analysis for CKD progression.

Results: The prevalence of NAFLD was 17.9%. The median duration of follow-up after scanning was 5.4 years, with a median estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 33.5 mL/min/1.73 m2 in this population. NAFLD proved to be a strong independent risk factor for cardiovascular events [hazard ratio (HR) 2.03; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33-3.13; P < 0.01] but it was not associated with all-cause mortality (HR 0.79; 95% CI 0.58-1.08; P = 0.14) or CKD progression (P = 0.09 for rate of decline of eGFR slope). Patients with CKD are known to have high cardiovascular risk; the propensity-matched analysis showed that NAFLD increased this cardiovascular risk (HR 2.00; CI 1.10-3.66; P < 0.05).

Conclusions: NAFLD has a strong independent association with cardiovascular events, even in an advanced CKD cohort with high comorbidity. The implication is that routine screening for NAFLD may be warranted in CKD populations to enable targeted interventions for CVD prevention in higher risk patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation
Early online date30 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, prevalence


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