Association Between Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Carotid Artery Inflammation Evaluated by18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography

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We assessed the association between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and carotid artery inflammation measured by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography. Participants were 755 consecutive otherwise healthy adult males who underwent a general health screening program. Carotid FDG uptake, represented as maximum target-to-background ratio, was increased with mild (n = 237; 1.61 ± 0.14; P = .033) and moderate NAFLD (n = 145; 1.63 ± 0.16; P = .005) compared with controls (n = 373; 1.58 ± 0.15). In patients aged >50 years, moderate NAFLD was the only independent risk factor for high carotid FDG uptake (odds ratio, 2.12; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-4.07; P = .001). Apparently healthy adult males with NAFLD have elevated carotid FDG uptake as well as increased carotid intima—media thickness, suggesting that they may be at an increased risk of having inflammatory atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid arteries.

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