Citing several limitations inherent to the terms nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an international multisociety panel significantly revised its nomenclature and definition recently. The reassessment is timely, given that NAFLD and NASH are the most common forms of chronic liver disease worldwide.
The panel’s primary objective was to link the replacement nosology to the underlying presumed pathophysiology, thereby highlighting that metabolic dysfunction is a defining characteristic of these diseases. However, concerns have been raised among some that inclusion of the word “metabolic” along with some of the other suggested elements may be confusing for both clinicians and patients.
Let’s review some of the key questions surrounding these changes, to better understand their possible impact.