Pediatric NAFLD Guidelines 2017

The concise recommendations (M Vos et al. JPGN 2017; 64: 319-34) from the Expert Committee on NAFLD (ECON)/NASPGHAN provide helpful advice on this increasingly common disorder. Link to full text: NASPGHAN Clinical Practice Guideline for NAFLD

The recommendations are graded on strength of recommendation and quality of the evidence.

Some key points:

  • Use ALT as a screening tool (despite its imperfections). Persistently elevations (>2xULN) should be evaluated for liver disease, including NAFLD.  (Norms: 22 U/L for girls, 26 U/L for boys). Values above 80 U/L “warrants increased clinical concern.”
  • Screening should be considered between ages 9 and 11 years for all obese children and for overweight children with additional risk factors.
  • Ultrasound and CT scans are NOT recommended.
  • Liver biopsy should be considered for the assessment of NAFLD in children who have increased risk of NASH and/or advanced fibrosis.  This could include those with splenomegaly, AST/ALT>1, higher ALT (>80 U/L), panhypopituitarism, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Treatment: Lifestyle modifications recommended.  No currently avaiable medications or supplements are recommended.
  • Look for & avoid comorbidities: dyslipidemias, hypertension, and diabetes. Assure vaccinations against Hep A/Hep B and counsel against binge drinking and against smoking.

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