NMS Researchers Validate Liver Fibrosis Assessment Methodology in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

The study performed by members of the MEDIR group, led by researcher Paula Macedo, presents a possible method of non-invasive diagnosis that could reduce the need for more expensive exams with greater risk for the patient.


Maria João Meneses, Paula Macedo e Ana Pina


The study carried out, now available online in the scientific journal Liver International, compared two non-invasive assessment methods/scores for the diagnosis of liver fibrosis in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The prevalence of NAFLD is higher in people who live with diabetes and have various complications such as steatohepatitis that leads to fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, whose diagnosis is often challenging.

The Portuguese researchers evaluated the effectiveness of the FNI score, compared to the most used FIB-4, and concluded that the FNI had a higher performance in identifying the most severe stage of NAFLD, liver fibrosis, not only in the general population, but also in people with type 2 diabetes. “There are several methods for diagnosing liver fibrosis, the standard being biopsy. Therefore, simpler, and faster methods are needed for the general population or those at risk”, say researchers Ana Pina and Maria João Menezes, first authors of this study. About the FNI, they say that “it can be useful not only in clinical practice in primary care, but also in units specialized in the treatment of people with type 2 diabetes”.

From a clinical study with 553 people living with type 2 diabetes and applying this FNI score, it was revealed that 13% would not need more complex diagnostic tests to assess the presence of liver fibrosis, thus reducing the burden on health care services. health. "Considering the higher frequency of NAFLD (~60%) in people with type 2 diabetes, this result is very relevant", conclude the researchers.

This study was carried out in collaboration between the iNOVA4Health research unit at NOVA Medical School, the Future Healthcare Virtual Clinic (FHVC), DECSIS II Iberia and Associação Protectora dos Diabéticos de Portugal (APDP).