It is well-known that patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have an increased risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and liver-related mortality. In addition to these adverse outcomes, patients with NAFLD often suffer from poor health-related quality of life, depression, and fatigue. The latter plays a crucial role in patients’ experience of NAFLD and is often what motivates patients with liver disease to seek care from their physicians. Despite this, little information exists regarding fatigue’s clinical impact among NAFLD patients.
The aim of this study was to investigate the drivers of fatigue among NAFLD patients, as well as its association with all-cause mortality in this patient population.
Depression was found to be the strongest risk factor for fatigue: it increased the odds of developing fatigue by 12-fold. Furthermore, an association between fatigue and increased mortality in NAFLD patients was found, with fatigue doubling the risk of all-cause mortality in this patient population.
Fatigue in NAFLD patients was mainly driven by depression, sleep disturbance and cardiovascular disease. This finding is significant as it underscores the need for personalised and multidisciplinary NAFLD management approaches. This would effectively reduce adverse outcome risk by addressing the interdependent interactions between sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue in patients with NAFLD.