Steatotic liver disease is the most important somatic determinant of quality of life in patients with obesity: A cross-sectional study

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Patients with metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) are often comorbid and stigmatized. This can negatively affect quality of life (QOL). Other studies have primarily used the Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire (CLDQ), which focuses on liver-related symptoms, to characterize QOL, but most MASLD patients have only mild liver disease, and CLDQ might overlook QOL issues pertaining to them. We aimed to determine the impact of metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) on QOL in obese patients using a 136-item generic QOL questionnaire.

METHODS: We included participants with BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 who all fully answered the sickness impact profile (SIP, range 0-100, normal = 3.4, 100 = worst) and had a liver biopsy to diagnose MASLD. Sociodemographics, comorbidity and biometric data were obtained from all participants.

RESULTS: Of 176 (mean age 45.9 years, 70% female, 12.6 years of education), 132 had no-MASH and 44 MASH. On stepwise multivariable regression analysis, divorce (p = .011), unemployment (p < .003) and hepatic steatosis (p = .01) were associated with poor overall QOL. No other somatic comorbidity was associated. MASH patients more frequently than no-MASH reported physical discomfort (48% vs. 30%, p = .04), inability to do daily activities (29% vs. 54%, p = .006) and attention problems (32% vs. 57%, p = .003).

CONCLUSION: MASLD severity was the only somatic determinant of QOL in patients with obesity in this cohort, and a large fraction reported debilitating symptoms. Patients and caregivers should consider the limitations this poses when planning interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLiver International
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)191-201
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • fatty liver
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • obesity
  • quality of life
  • sickness impact profile
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Fatty Liver/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Obesity/complications
  • Quality of Life
  • Female


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