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Comparison of the prevalence, severity, and risk factors for hepatic steatosis in HIV-infected and uninfected people.

Torgersen J, So-Armah K, Freiberg MS, Goetz MB, Budoff MJ, Lim JK, Taddei T, Butt AA, Rodriguez-Barradas MC, Justice AC, Kostman JR, Lo Re V. Comparison of the prevalence, severity, and risk factors for hepatic steatosis in HIV-infected and uninfected people. BMC gastroenterology. 2019 Apr 15; 19(1):52.

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BACKGROUND: Hepatic steatosis is prevalent in Western countries, but few studies have evaluated whether the frequency and severity of steatosis are greater in the setting of HIV infection. We compared the prevalence and severity of hepatic steatosis between HIV-infected (HIV+) and uninfected persons and identified factors associated with greater steatosis severity within both groups. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study among participants without cardiovascular disease who participated in a substudy of the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. Hepatic steatosis was defined by noncontrast computed tomography (CT) liver-to-spleen (L/S) attenuation ratio < 1.0. Multivariable linear regression was used to: 1) evaluate the association between HIV infection and severity of hepatic steatosis, as measured by absolute liver attenuation, and 2) identify factors associated with greater severity of steatosis, by HIV status. RESULTS: Among 268 participants (median age, 55 years; 99% male; 79% black; 23% obese; 64% HIV+ [91% on antiretroviral therapy]), the overall prevalence of steatosis was 7.8% and was similar between HIV+ and uninfected individuals (13 [7.6%] versus 8 [8.2%], respectively; p  = 0.85). Participants with HIV, the majority of whom received antiretroviral therapy, had a higher mean absolute liver attenuation (mean difference, 5.68 Hounsfield units; p  < 0.001), correlating with lesser hepatic steatosis severity, compared to uninfected participants. After adjusting for covariates, only advanced hepatic fibrosis was associated with greater severity of steatosis in HIV+ persons (p  = 0.03) and uninfected individuals (p  < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In this sample of participants without cardiovascular disease, the prevalence of hepatic steatosis by noncontrast abdominal CT was not different by HIV status. Increasing severity of steatosis was independently associated with advanced hepatic fibrosis in both groups.

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