Background & Aims: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common chronic liver diseases worldwide. The aim of our study was to evaluate a population of diabetic patients regarding the severity of liver steatosis and liver fibrosis.

Methods: The study included 392 type 2 diabetic patients prospectively randomized, evaluated in the same session by transabdominal ultrasound to assess steatosis and by liver elastography to assess fibrosis (Transient Elastography – TE, FibroScan, EchoSens). Steatosis severity was graded using a semi-quantitative scale (S0-no steatosis; S1-mild steatosis; S2-moderate steatosis; S3-severe steatosis). For differentiation between stages of liver fibrosis, the following cut-off values were used (Wong et al., 2010): F2-F3: 7-10.2kPa, F4≥10.3 kPa.

Results: Reliable elastographic measurements were obtained in 76% (298/392) patients. By using the proposed cut-off values, significant fibrosis (F2-F3) was found in 18.8% (56) patients with steatosis, while 13.8% (41) had cirrhosis (F4). Significant fibrosis (F2-F3) was found in 20.4% (20/98) of the patients with S1, in 18.6% (22/118) of those with S2 and in 31.8% (14/44) of those with S3, while cirrhosis (F4) was diagnosed in 7.1% (7/98) patients with S1, in 20.3% (24/118) of those with S2 and in 22.7% (10/44) of those with S3.

Conclusions: Liver steatosis diagnosed by ultrasound is very frequently found in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients, more than half of them having moderate/severe steatosis. A significant liver stiffness increase was found in more than 30% of these patients. Liver stiffness assessment in type 2 diabetic patients should be performed systematically to identify those with significant liver fibrosis. .

Abbreviations: 2D-SWE: Two Dimensional Shear Waves Elastography; ALT: alanine aminotransferase; AP: alkaline phosphatase; ARFI: Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse; AST: aspartate aminotransferase; AUROC: area under the receiver operating characteristic; BMI: body mass index; DM: diabetes mellitus; GGT: gammaglutamyl transpeptidase; HbA1c: glycated hemoglobin; HBsAg: hepatitis B virus surface antigen; HBV: hepatitis B virus; HCV: hepatitis C virus; LC: liver cirrhosis; LS: liver stiffness; NAFLD: nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; NASH: nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; TE: transient elastography; US: ultrasound.


diabetes mellitus, liver steatosis, liver stiffness, liver fibrosis, Transient Elastography