Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Is Associated With Arterial Distensibility and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness: (from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis)

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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is considered a potential independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort enrolled 6,814 adults without previous CVD. We excluded 2,692 participants who had missing variables, were heavy drinkers, or history of steroid use and/or chronic liver disease. NAFLD was defined using noncontrast cardiac CT and a liver/spleen Hounsfield Unit attenuation ratio 0 were used as markers of subclinical CVD. A multivariate robust linear regression and logistic regression analysis were done to evaluate the association of NAFLD and this subclinical CVD markers. Our analysis of 4,123 participants showed 55% were female with a mean age of 63 (±10) years, 39% white, 10% Chinese, 28% black, and 23% were Hispanic. The prevalence of NAFLD was 17% (n = 729). Patients with NAFLD had higher distensibility coefficient and higher CIMT. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed the presence of NAFLD was associated with both the common carotid and internal carotid IMT and logCAC. Logistic analysis showed an independent association with CAC > 0 (odds ratio [OR] 1.44 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18, 1.75) and CIMT > 1 mm (OR 1.30 95% 1.08, 1.56). When stratified by race the association with CIMT > 1 mm was significant in whites (OR 1.37 95% 1.00, 1.90) and Hispanic (OR 1.53 95% 1.08, 2. 17) and CAC > 0 was significant in Hispanics (OR 1.52 95% 1.06, 2.19). In conclusion, NAFLD is modestly associated with carotid IMT and coronary artery calcification in a multiethnic population.