Studies comparing MAFLD to NAFLD found that individuals with MAFLD were at a higher risk of metabolic comorbidities, fibrosis progression and cardiovascular disease. However, the risk of cardiovascular disease is not well understood in MAFLD. In NAFLD, as well as in the general population, it is well known that there is an association between coronary artery calcification and the risk of cardiovascular disease. In MAFLD, this study found that diabetic individuals with MAFLD best predicted high-risk phenotypes for cardiovascular disease, while for non-diabetic patients, metabolic risk abnormalities were associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the diagnostic criteria for non-diabetic MAFLD must be further evaluated to understand cardiovascular risk.
This review by Kang MK et al. aimed to compare the risk of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in MAFLD versus NAFLD.
While diabetic MAFLD can predict high-risk phenotypes for cardiovascular disease, more research is needed into understanding non-diabetic MAFLD in comparison to NAFLD phenotypes.