New link between coronary artery plaque and liver disease

4 November 2014

There is a link between high-risk coronary artery plaque and a common liver disease, a new study has found.

Using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) an international team of researchers has found that a single CT exam could detect both conditions. The study, published online in the journal Radiology, analysed the associations between high-risk plaque and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is the most common liver disease.

Patients were taken from a large trial focusing on the use of CCTA in people who had been to the emergency department for acute chest pain. Participants underwent both non-enhanced CT to assess coronary calcium, a marker of atherosclerosis, and contrast-enhanced CCTA. 

Out of the 445 patients in the study, 182 were found to have CT evidence of NAFLD, which represents 40.9 per cent. High-risk plaque was found in more than half (59.3 per cent) of those with the liver condition, compared to just 19 per cent of people without NAFLD.

The results suggest that high-risk plaque and NAFLD are both part of the same systemic disease process, the metabolic syndrome.

Posted by Jeanette Royston​


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