Explore This Clinic

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects nearly 30% of Americans. Fatty liver disease was historically thought to be of little importance, but recent advances have uncovered that fatty liver disease can lead to end stage liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is estimated that by the year 2020 fatty liver disease will be the leading reason for liver transplants in the United States.

About the Fatty Liver Clinic

The Mass General Fatty Liver Clinic provides comprehensive care for patients with suspected or established fatty liver disease. We see all forms of fatty liver disease including steatosis, steatohepatitis and cirrhosis. We offer evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plans for patients suffering from fatty liver disease. In addition, we are dedicated to research advancing the understanding of the causes of fatty liver and improving therapies to prevent and treat fatty liver disease. To this end, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently recommended a one-time hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody test for anyone born between 1945 and 1965. Identification of cases is now more important than ever because dramatically improved treatments are now available for HCV infection with cure rates approaching 100%. These new medications are much more tolerable than prior therapies such as interferon which is limited by many side effects. Cure of HCV has now been definitively shown to reduce mortality related to liver disease. The Hepatitis C Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital offers comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for patients with all phases of hepatitis C infection.

What to Expect

To schedule your appointment in the Fatty Liver Clinic at MGH please call 617-724-0274 or request an appointment online.

At your first visit to the Fatty Liver Disease Clinic you will undergo:

  • Evaluation of your medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Assessment of your risk factors for fatty liver disease, including your family’s history of medical conditions, your medical conditions and your lifestyle

After a complete evaluation you will work with your physician to determine if further tests are needed. These tests can include:

  • Blood tests
  • Radiographic studies such as an ultrasound or MRI
  • Liver biopsy

A liver biopsy is often recommended because it may be needed to confirm your diagnosis of fatty liver disease and determine what type of fatty liver disease you have. A liver biopsy can also tell you if you have early or advanced disease, which impacts the treatment you need.

After you have completed these tests you will return to the Fatty Liver Clinic to review the tests results and work with your doctor to determine a treatment plan.

Treatment for fatty liver disease can include:

  • Exercise plans
  • Weight loss and nutrition counseling
  • Medications

The Fatty Liver Clinic works closely with the Mass General Weight Center to provide you access to dieticians, nutrition and exercise programs, medications for weight loss and, in special cases, weight loss surgery.

After this you will be followed closely in the Fatty Liver Clinic to monitor your progress and response to treatment. Our goal is to keep your liver healthy and we are dedicated with working with you to ensure this happens!

Learn more

Personalized, Multidisciplinary Treatment

Treatment for all hepatitis C genotypes now involves combinations of oral direct acting antiviral agents, without need for interferon. These are well tolerated and highly effective, with cure rates consistently exceeding 90%. The length of treatment can be as short as eight weeks or extend to 24 weeks, depending on your prior treatment experience and the extent of liver disease.

You may also be referred for a clinical trial of novel direct antiviral agents against hepatitis C.

The Hepatitis C Clinic team works closely with our colleagues in transplant and hepatobiliary surgery, radiology, pathology, psychiatry and social work. We will provide you with easy access to any other Mass General specialists you may need to ensure you receive the best care possible.

Clinical Trials

It remains unknown why some people develop fatty liver, and why some develop advanced disease while others do not. The Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Repository follows patients every 6 months when they come for their regularly scheduled appointments and monitors their liver disease and response to treatment.

Learn more about clinical trials

Ongoing clinical trials for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Actively recruiting

Condition: Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Study title: The Study of Biomarkers in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Description of study: To better understand why and how non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease develops, patients with fatty liver can choose to donate blood to allow for the study of relevant genes, environmental and lifestyle factors. Participation entails up to four 10 mL blood samples. Reimbursement for parking is provided.
Basic eligibility criteria: Any patient with either abnormal liver function tests or fatty liver seen on ultrasound, CT scan or MRI is eligible.
Principal investigator: Kathleen Corey, MD, MPH
Contact: Yuri Choi, 617-726-3670

Condition: Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Study title: Growth Hormone and Intrahepatic Lipid Content in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Description of study: The purpose of this study is to better understand how the body’s natural growth hormone levels contribute to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Participants in this study will undergo a CT scan, MRI scan and special blood testing. Compensation includes $300 for two visits as well as parking reimbursement.
Basic eligibility criteria: Individuals with NAFLD ages 18-65 years old.
Principal investigator: Karen Miller, MD
Contact: Ariana Riccio, 617-726-2764

Ongoing clinical trials for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: No longer recruiting

Study title: CENTAUR - Efficacy and Safety Study of Cenicriviroc for the Treatment of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in Adult Subjects with Liver Fibrosis
Description of study: We are doing this study to find out if cenicriviroc (CVC), a once daily oral drug, can help people with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver fibrosis. Participants will require yearly biopsies and will be randomly assigned into 3 groups: active treatment for 2 years (50% chance), placebo then drug (25%), and placebo for 2 years (25%). ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT02217475
Basic eligibility criteria: Individuals with NAFLD ages 18-65 years old.
Principal investigator: Kathleen Corey, MD, MPH

Referring a Patient

Up to 40% of Americans have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and 15-25% of these patients have steatohepatitis, a condition that can progress to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Patients over the age of 45 and who have obesity or diabetes have a 66% prevalence of advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis. If your patient has suspected fatty liver, the MGH Fatty Liver Clinic can help risk stratify your patient to determine if further tests, including liver biopsy, are needed and to determine what long-term interventions, including medications, are warranted. 

The Fatty Liver Clinic sees patients with established fatty liver disease but also those with suspected fatty liver disease based on abnormal liver function tests or isolated fatty liver on imaging.

To refer a patient with suspected or established fatty liver disease please contact the Fatty Liver Clinic at 617-724-0274 or use our online referral form.

If you have questions about fatty liver disease including diagnosis and management please contact the Director of the Fatty Liver Clinic, Dr. Kathleen Corey, at kcorey@partners.org.

eNewsletter for clinicians (PDF)