Predicting hepatic steatosis and liver fat content in obese children based on biochemical parameters and anthropometry

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Abstract

Background:

Predictors of quantitative evaluation of hepatic steatosis and liver fat content (LFC) using clinical and laboratory variables available in the general practice in the obese children are poorly identified.

Objective:

To build predictive models of hepatic steatosis and LFC in obese children based on biochemical parameters and anthropometry.

Methods:

Hepatic steatosis and LFC were determined using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in 171 obese children aged 5.5–18.0 years. Routine clinical and laboratory parameters were also measured in all subjects. Group analysis, univariable correlation analysis, and multivariate logistic and linear regression analysis were used to develop a liver fat score to identify hepatic steatosis and a liver fat equation to predict LFC in each subject.

Results:

The predictive model of hepatic steatosis in our participants based on waist circumference and alanine aminotransferase had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.959 (95% confidence interval: 0.927–0.990). The optimal cut-off value of 0.525 for determining hepatic steatosis had sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 90%. A liver fat equation was also developed based on the same parameters of hepatic steatosis liver fat score, which would be used to calculate the LFC in each individual.

Conclusions:

The liver fat score and liver fat equation, consisting of routinely available variables, may help paediatricians to accurately determine hepatic steatosis and LFC in clinical practice, but external validation is needed before it can be employed for this purpose.

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