Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the incidence of myocardial infarction: A cohort study

Dong Hyun Sinn, Danbee Kang, Yoosoo Chang, Seungho Ryu, Soo Jin Cho, Seung Woon Paik, Young Bin Song, Roberto Pastor-Barriuso, Eliseo Guallar, Juhee Cho, Geum Youn Gwak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background and Aim: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a multisystem disease associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Indeed, CVD is the most common cause of death in NAFLD patients. This study aimed to evaluate the association between NAFLD and the risk of incident myocardial infarction. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study involving 111 492 adults over 40 years old without history of CVD, liver disease, or cancer at baseline who participated in a regular health screening exam between 2003 and 2013. Fatty liver was diagnosed by ultrasonography. Results: During 725 706.9 person-years of follow-up, 183 participants developed myocardial infarction (incidence rate 0.3 cases per 1000 person-years). The age, sex, and year of visit-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for incident myocardial infarction comparing participants with NAFLD with those without it was 2.14 (95% confidence interval 1.59, 2.89). This association remained significant in fully adjusted models (HR 1.54; 95% confidence interval 1.11, 2.14). Compared with participants without NAFLD, in participants with low NAFLD fibrosis score (NFS) (< −1.455) and with intermediate-to-high NFS (≥ −1.455), the fully adjusted HRs for incident myocardial infarction were 1.70 (1.22, 2.36) and 1.88 (1.24, 2.87), respectively. Conclusion: In this large cohort study, NAFLD was associated with an increased incidence of myocardial infarction independently of established risk factors. In addition, this association was similar in participants with and without evidence of more advanced NAFLD as indicated by the NFS. NAFLD patients may need to be carefully monitored and managed early to prevent myocardial infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-839
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • fibrosis
  • myocardial infarction
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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