Fatty liver differential diagnosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief:


Differentiating Fatty Liver from other Diseases

Flow chart for diagnosis, modified from[1]
Elevated liver enzyme
Serology to exclude viral hepatitis
Imaging study showing
fatty infiltrate
Assess alcohol intake
Less than 2 drinks per day‡
More than 2 drinks per day‡
Non alcoholic fatty liver disease likely
Alcoholic fatty liver disease likely
Criteria for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease:
consumption of ethanol less than 20g/day for woman and 30g/day for man[2]


  1. Bayard M, Holt J, Boroughs E (2006). "Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease". American family physician. 73 (11): 1961–8. PMID 16770927.
  2. Adams LA, Angulo P, Lindor KD (2005). "Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease". CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne. 172 (7): 899–905. doi:10.1503/cmaj.045232. PMID 15795412.
  3. Sailer, Christian, Wasner, Susanne. Differential Diagnosis Pocket. Hermosa Beach, CA: Borm Bruckmeir Publishing LLC, 2002:142 isbn=1591032016