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Cardiac abnormalities in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Insights from auxiliary examinations
  • Yu Dong
  • Guangsen LiEmail author
Review articles


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common forms of chronic liver disease in developed countries and is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome. It is defined as steatosis in over 5% of hepatocytes. The disease spectrum of NAFLD ranges from simple fatty liver to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, liver fibrosis, even hepatic cirrhosis. The disease affects various extra-hepatic systems such as the cardiovascular system and urinary system. Heart-related disease is identified as the leading cause of mortality in NAFLD patients rather than liver-related disease. In this review, we summarize the cardiac abnormalities (structural, functional, arrhythmic cardiac complications etc.) seen in NAFLD patients with the assistance of auxiliary examinations, such as electrocardiography, echocardiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging etc. In addition, the epidemiology of NAFLD and how NAFLD affects the myocardium are also discussed.


Cardiovascular disease Steatosis Electrocardiography Echocardiography Computed tomography 

Kardiale Veränderungen bei Patienten mit nichtalkoholischer Fettlebererkrankung

Betrachtung anhand weiterführender Untersuchungen


Die nichtalkoholische Fettlebererkrankung (NAFLD) ist eine der häufigsten Formen der chronischen Lebererkrankung in Industrieländern und mit Diabetes mellitus Typ 2, Adipositas, Hypertonie, Dyslipidämie und dem metabolischen Syndrom assoziiert. Definiert ist sie als Fettakkumulation in über 5 % der Hepatozyten. Das Krankheitsspektrum der NAFLD reicht von der einfachen Fettleber über die nichtalkoholische Steatohepatitis bis zur Leberfibrose und sogar bis zur Leberzirrhose. Die Erkrankung beeinträchtigt verschiedene extrahepatische Systeme, so etwa das Herz-Kreislauf-System und die Harnwege. Als führende Todesursache bei Patienten mit NAFLD wurden nicht Leber-, sondern Herzerkrankungen ermittelt. In der vorliegenden Übersicht werden kardiale Veränderungen (strukturelle, funktionelle und herzrhythmusbezogene Komplikationen etc.) zusammengefasst, die sich in weiterführenden Untersuchungen bei Patienten mit NAFLD zeigen, unter anderem im Elektrokardiogramm, in der Echokardiographie, Computertomographie und Magnetresonanztomographie. Darüber hinaus wird auf die Epidemiologie und die Beeinträchtigung des Myokards durch die NAFLD eingegangen.


Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankung Fettleber Elektrokardiographie Echokardiographie Computertomographie 



The authors would like to acknowledge Prof. Li for support with this review.

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

Y. Dong and G. Li declare that they have no competing interests.

For this article no studies with human participants or animals were performed by any of the authors. All studies performed were in accordance with the ethical standards indicated in each case.


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Copyright information

© Springer Medizin Verlag GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ultrasound, the Second Affiliated HospitalDalian Medical UniversityDalianChina

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