Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Mortality Outcomes by Fibrosis Stage in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.

Background & aims

Fibrosis is a key determinant of clinical outcomes in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), but time-dependent risk of mortality has not been reported in previous meta-analyses. We performed an updated time-to-event meta-analysis to provide robust estimates for all-cause and liver-related mortality in biopsy-confirmed NAFLD with comparisons between fibrosis stages.


Medline and Embase databases were searched to include cohort studies reporting survival outcomes by fibrosis stage in biopsy-proven NAFLD. Survival estimates were pooled using reconstructed individual participant data. Conventional meta-analysis was conducted to pool adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) using DerSimonian and Laird random effects model.


A total of 14 articles involving 17,301 patients with NAFLD were included. All-cause mortality at 1, 5, and 10 years for stage 0 to 2 fibrosis was 0.1%, 3.3%, and 7.7% vs 0.3%, 20.6%, and 41.5% for stage 4 fibrosis. Compared with stage 0 fibrosis, all-cause mortality increased with fibrosis stage: stage 2; HR, 1.46 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08-1.98), stage 3; HR, 1.96 (95% CI, 1.41-2.72), and stage 4; HR, 3.66 (95% CI, 2.65-5.05). Risk for liver-related mortality increased exponentially as fibrosis stage increased: stage 2; HR, 4.07 (95% CI, 1.44-11.5), stage 3; HR, 7.59 (95% CI, 2.80-20.5), and stage 4; HR, 15.1 (95% CI, 5.27-43.4). Stage 3 to 4 fibrosis had a higher all-cause (HR, 3.32) and liver-related mortality (HR, 10.40) compared with stage 0 to 2 fibrosis, whereas stage 4 fibrosis had higher all-cause (HR, 2.67; 95% CI, 1.47-4.83) and liver-related mortality (HR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.22-5.42) vs stage 3 fibrosis.


Risk of all-cause and liver-related mortality increases substantially with fibrosis stage. These data have important implications for prognostication and trial design.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item