Community Socioeconomic Deprivation Predicts Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis


In order to determine the relationship between socioeconomic deprivation and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), we retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of 1,430 patients in a large tertiary health care network in New York. These patients underwent liver biopsy over a 10-year period and were included in our study if they had evidence of NAFLD/NASH on liver biopsy. Zip codes were used to obtain data necessary to derive the social deprivation index (SDI) from the US Bureau of the Census. The high-SDI group was compared to the low-SDI group. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed to assess association between socioeconomic factors and NAFLD parameters, including presence of NASH (NAFLD activity score >4), moderate to severe steatosis (>33%), and significant fibrosis (S2-S4). We included 614 patients with NAFLD/NASH; the median SDI was 31.5. Hemoglobin A1c values were higher in the high-SDI group compared to the low-SDI group (6.46 vs. 6.12, P = 0.02). Socioeconomic factors, such as private versus public health care, percentage being foreign born, percentage without a car, percentage with higher needs (<5 years old and >65 years old), and percentage currently living in renter-occupied and crowded housing units, showed statistically significant associations in predicting NASH. After adjusting for patient age, sex, race, body mass index, and diabetes, we saw a significant association between four or more socioeconomic parameters in predicting NASH (odds ratio [OR], 1.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.099-2.856; P = 0.0190) and six or more socioeconomic parameters in predicting severe steatosis (OR, 1.498; 95% CI, 1.031-2.176; P = 0.0338) but no significant correlation between the number of socioeconomic parameters and significant fibrosis. Conclusion: Greater number of socioeconomic determinants (four or more) are associated with greater severity of NASH. Awareness of NAFLD/NASH needs to be raised in communities with high socioeconomic deprivation.

Publication Title

Hepatology Communications