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Introduction: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by fat infiltration greater than 5%, and in the pediatric population, it is associated with acquired or congenital metabolic alterations, with a high prevalence in the Hispanic population. The aim of the present study was to establish the correlation between the body mass index and the ultrasound grade of hepatic steatosis in children and adolescents attending a health check-up.
Methods: The present observational, analytical, cross-sectional, retrospective study was carried out with patients from 2 to 17 years of age with hepatic steatosis treated in the outpatient area of the “Dr. Roberto Gilbert Elizalde” Children´s Hospital, Guayaquil, Ecuador, between the years 2015 and 2019. Weight, height, body mass index, degree of steatosis and AST and ALT levels were measured. A correlation analysis was established between steatosis as a dependent variable.
Results: 77 cases with an average age of 11 years entered the study, and females represented 39% of the sample. There was no association between the ultrasound grade of hepatic steatosis vs. age, gender, weight, height, or body mass index. In the analysis between transaminase levels in patients with mild to severe ultrasound grade, a significant rise in AST (P = 0.003) and a moderately significant rise in ALT (P = 0.0583) were observed.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated the absence of correlation of the ultrasound grade of steatosis with the body mass index. Early detection of hepatic steatosis with the appropriate tools should be a priority in the care of pediatric patients to avoid its progression to liver cirrhosis, for which the use of transaminases as a screening method is recommended for patients with risk factors.
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