External validation of fatty liver index for identifying ultrasonographic fatty liver in a large-scale cross-sectional study in Taiwan

Bi Ling Yang, Wen Chieh Wu, Kuan Chieh Fang, Yuan Chen Wang, Teh Ia Huo, Yi Hsiang Huang, Hwai I. Yang, Chien Wei Su, Han Chieh Lin, Fa Yauh Lee, Jaw Ching Wu, Shou Dong Lee

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101 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aims: The fatty liver index (FLI) is an algorithm involving the waist circumference, body mass index, and serum levels of triglyceride and gamma-glutamyl transferase to identify fatty liver. Although some studies have attempted to validate the FLI, few studies have been conducted for external validation among Asians. We attempted to validate FLI to predict ultrasonographic fatty liver in Taiwanese subjects. Methods: We enrolled consecutive subjects who received health check-up services at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital from 2002 to 2009. Ultrasonography was applied to diagnose fatty liver. The ability of the FLI to detect ultrasonographic fatty liver was assessed by analyzing the area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve. Results: Among the 29,797 subjects enrolled in this study, fatty liver was diagnosed in 44.5% of the population. Subjects with ultrasonographic fatty liver had a significantly higher FLI than those without fatty liver by multivariate analysis (odds ratio 1.045; 95% confidence interval, CI 1.044-1.047, p < 0.001). Moreover, FLI had the best discriminative ability to identify patients with ultrasonographic fatty liver (AUROC: 0.827, 95% confidence interval, 0.822-0.831). An FLI < 25 (negative likelihood ratio (LR-) 0.32) for males and <10 (LR-0.26) for females rule out ultrasonographic fatty liver. Moreover, an FLI ≥ 35 (positive likelihood ratio (LR+) 3.12) for males and ≥ 20 (LR+ 4.43) for females rule in ultrasonographic fatty liver. Conclusions: FLI could accurately identify ultrasonographic fatty liver in a large-scale population in Taiwan but with lower cut-off value than the Western population. Meanwhile the cut-off value was lower in females than in males.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0120443
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 17 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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