Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most prevalent chronic liver disorders. Acute cholangitis (AC) is a life-threatening illness.
Objective: To determine whether NAFLD is a risk factor for the severity of AC.
Methods: We retrospectively studied hospitalized patients with a diagnosis of AC over 5 years. Patients were divided into a NAFLD group and a non-NAFLD group. We compared the two groups with regard to demographic characteristics, co-morbidities, laboratory data, and severity of AC (including Charlson Comorbidity Index [CCI] and Tokyo Consensus meeting criteria).
Results: In all, 298 of 419 hospitalized patients diagnosed with AC met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 73/298 (24.5%) were in the NAFLD group. NAFLD group patients were younger and more likely to be diabetic and obese than the non-NAFLD group. Participants in the NAFLD presented with higher serum C-reactive protein and higher liver enzymes (P < 0.05, for each parameter) and with more events of organ dysfunction (P < 0.001) and bacteremia (P < 0.005). Regarding the severity of AC according to Tokyo Consensus, among the NAFLD group more patients presented with Grade II (39.7 vs. 33.3%, P < 0.001) and Grade III (23.3 vs. 18.3, P < 0.001) cholangitis. More Grade I cholangitis was found among the non-NAFLD group (48.4 vs. 37%, P < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that NAFLD was independently associated with severe AC, Grade III (odds ratio 3.25, 95% confidence interval 1.65–6.45, P = 0.038).
Conclusions: NAFLD is an independent risk factor for the severity of AC.