Liver fibrosis by FibroScan® independently of established cardiovascular risk parameters associates with macrovascular and microvascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes

Rosa Lombardi, Lorena Airaghi, Giovanni Targher, Gaetano Serviddio, Gabriele Maffi, Alessandro Mantovani, Claudio Maffeis, Antonio Colecchia, Rosanna Villani, Luca Rinaldi, Emanuela Orsi, Giuseppina Pisano, Luigi E. Adinolfi, Silvia Fargion, Anna L. Fracanzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background & Aims: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are closely associated, and liver fibrosis has been related to macrovascular complications. We examined whether liver fibrosis, diagnosed by FibroScan®, correlates with chronic vascular complications in a cohort of T2DM. Methods: We recruited 394 outpatients with T2DM attending five Italian diabetes centres who underwent liver ultrasonography (US), FibroScan® and extensive evaluation of macrovascular and microvascular diabetic complications. Results: Steatosis by US was present in 89%. Almost all patients (96%) were on hypoglycaemic drugs, 58% had at least one chronic vascular complication, 19% a macrovascular complication (prior myocardial infarction and/or ischaemic stroke) and 33% a microvascular one (26% chronic kidney disease [CKD]; 16% retinopathy; 6% neuropathy). In all, 171 (72%) patients had CAP ≥ 248dB/m (ie hepatic steatosis), whereas 83 (21%) patients had LSM ≥ 7.0/6.2 kPa (M/XL probes) (significant liver fibrosis). CAP was not associated with any macro/microvascular complications, whereas LSM ≥ 7.0/6.2 kPa was independently associated with prior cardiovascular disease (adjusted OR 3.3, 95%CI 1.2-8.8; P =.02) and presence of microvascular complications (adjusted OR 4.2, 95%CI 1.5-11.4; P =.005), mainly CKD (adjusted OR 3.6, 95%CI 1.3-10.1; P =.01) and retinopathy (adjusted OR 3.7, CI 95% 1.2-11.9; P =.02). Neither diabetes duration nor haemoglobin A1c differed according to CAP or LSM values. Conclusion: Significant fibrosis, detected by FibroScan®, is independently associated with increased prevalence of macrovascular and microvascular complications, thus opening a new scenario in the use of this tool for a comprehensive evaluation of hepatic and vascular complications in patients with T2DM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-354
JournalLiver International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020



  • cardiovascular disease
  • liver stiffness measurement
  • microvascular complications
  • type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology

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