New Study shows 1 in 8 adults may have NASH – a more serious form of non-alcohol related fatty liver disease

Posted on: 13th April 2018
  • UK NASH prevalence could be as high as 12%
  • Greater awareness of NASH and better access to non-invasive diagnostic tools needed to identify patients at risk of serious liver damage

New data revealed today indicates that the prevalence of non-alcohol related steatohepatitis (NASH) among UK adults could be as high as 12%. NASH is a progressive form of non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which is now considered to be one of the major causes of cirrhosis of the liver.

The data, which were presented at The International Liver Congress in Paris, came from an analysis of UK Biobank, the world’s largest database of health information.  The researchers used innovative digital scanning technology LiverMultiScan to analyse quantitative MRI data from 2,895 UK Biobank participants to calculate the overall percentage of people in the database who are expected to have NASH. The projected figure of 12% suggests the number of people with undiagnosed NASH could be significantly higher than the 2-3% previously estimated.

The UK Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has previously warned of the impact the growing prevalence of fatty liver disease will have on the nation’s health, and the drain on NHS resources. Dr Rajarshi Banerjee, CEO of Perspectum Diagnostics commented, “Currently most people with NASH are diagnosed with a liver biopsy when the disease has already progressed and they have symptoms. We now have the technology to find these people much earlier using a less invasive test which gives doctors and patients the power to take action and a better chance of reversing their liver damage. This is better for the patient and for the NHS.”

LiverMultiScan is a test that combines digital image processing and trained experts to quantify and characterise tissue from an MRI scan of the liver, giving doctors reliable information about the health of the whole liver. It can be used with modern MRI scanners, so no new hardware is needed. It is approved for use across Europe to aid diagnosis of liver disorders and abnormalities.

Judi Rhys, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust added, “This study indicates that the UK prevalence of NASH - the more serious form of fatty liver disease - could be significantly higher than we thought, and potentially even higher than Type 2 diabetes in this population.  This will present a huge burden on the NHS in years to come – with an increasing number of people requiring care for cirrhosis or needing liver transplants. Greater awareness of the risk factors of fatty liver disease is crucial. We also need patients to have much better access to non-invasive diagnostic tools to help to catch people earlier in their disease so they can make lifestyle changes or seek other treatments that will help them to prevent further damage and improve the health of their liver.”

For a copy of the Research Poster click here

See some of the media coverage here:


Daily Mail

Daily Mirror


There was also widespread regional coverage and broadcast reports that mentioned the British Liver Trust  on BBC TV six O’Clock and ten O’Clock news, BBC Radio4 Six O'Clock News, BBC Radio2, Friday Night Is Music Night, BBC Radio5, 5 Live Sport: The Friday Football Social, BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Radio Northampton, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Radio Cumbria,  BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Solent, BBC Radio Three Counties, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Newcastle, BBC Radio Wiltshire, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio5, Stephen Nolan,
BBC Radio4, News and Weather, 14/04/18