Published online May 28, 2017. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v9.i15.697
Peer-review started: February 9, 2017
First decision: March 6, 2017
Revised: April 7, 2017
Accepted: April 23, 2017
Article in press: April 24, 2017
Published online: May 28, 2017
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing considerably due to the current lifestyle, which means that it is becoming one of the main indications for liver transplantation. On the other hand, there is a strong association between NAFLD and cardiovascular disease. This has been evidenced in many studies revealing a higher presence of carotid plaques or carotid intima-media thickness, leading to cardiovascular events and, ultimately, mortality. According to the liver transplant guidelines, screening for heart disease in transplant candidates should be performed by electrocardiogram and transthoracic echocardiography while a stress echocardiogram should be reserved for those with more than two cardiovascular risk factors or greater than 50 years old. However, there are no specific recommendations in NAFLD patients requiring a liver transplantation, despite its well-known cardiovascular risk association. Many studies have shown that these patients probably require a more exhaustive assessment and a global approach including other specialists such as cardiologists or nutritionists. Also, the incidence of cardiovascular disease is also increased in NAFLD patients in the post-transplantation period in comparison with other etiologies, because of the pre-existent risk factors together with the immunosuppressive therapy. Therefore, an early intervention on the lifestyle and the individualized selection of the immunosuppressive regimen could lead to a modification of the cardiovascular risk factors in NAFLD patients requiring a liver transplantation.
Core tip: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a growing condition due to the current lifestyle. It is considered the liver manifestation of the metabolic syndrome, so it is strongly related to cardiovascular disease. Given that is one of the main indications of liver transplantation, it is essential to carry out an adequate assessment of the pre-transplant cardiovascular risk, as well as an individualized management of the patient in the post-transplantation period (due to the pre-existent cardiovascular risk factors and the immunosuppressive therapy).