Protocols for initial fatty liver finding - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Protocols for initial fatty liver finding

MississaugaLiver profile image

As my husband was just diagnosed with cirrhosis he’s wondering if his GP should have counselled him on alcohol use when she noticed a fatty liver a year ago after bloodwork. I recently accessed an ultrasound he had three years ago after a fall and the fatty liver was noted on the report, yet he was never informed.

It’s water under the bridge now, but he’s upset that perhaps if he’d stopped drinking three years ago he may have stopped the progression to ascites.

Any thoughts?

12 Replies
Trust1 profile image

In the UK there are national guidelines for the management of Non-Alcohol Related Fatty liver disease from NICE ( National Institute for health and care excellence) where clinicians are recommended to take an alcohol history and provide lifestyle advice.

We would suggest seeing what guidelines are used in Canada to manage NAFLD patients.

Best wishes to you both



Its not up to a GP to councel. I'm sure the GP will have said to avoid alcohol /give up alcohol. If your hubby knew he was going to struggle to give up it is his responsibility to say " How?/ I'm going to struggle to so that" the GP would then refer him for councelling.


Giving up alcohol was easy. He simply stopped the day he was told he has cirrhosis. That’s why he’s a bit upset. The GP’s comment was, “You have a fatty liver, very common, nothing to concern yourself about.” So he didn’t.

Imo GPs (my ones certainly) dont take fatty liver as seriously as they should. My ones insinuated that it was good news that i had 'only' a fatty liver, I would be oblivious to ots dangers if i didnt look ot up myself.

Perhaps this is because such a large proportion of the population have it.

I dony know of that even makes sense.

I notice GPs arent great with matters of the liver. Gps and people in general should be made more aware of fatty liver and its dangers.


Hi Missi,

It depends if your GP was aware of the alcohol issue. I was asked at my first appointment for a fatty liver, how much I consumed, and was then told to reduce it. Bloods and a fibroscan then showed F4 cirrhosis, but I had already given up totally by then. Fatty liver is not taken seriously enough by GP's, but there are many more causes of it, other than alcohol.


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Sadly it is becoming more common for GP's to treat fatty liver, lightly. "Oh, its only fatty liver you'll be alright". Having fatty liver, in my opinion should be treated as a wake-up call, and further investigation to identify the cause should be undertaken.

There are many reasons for having fatty liver, these include a poor life style, (I.e. bad food and alcohol) or another condition such as infected or block bile ducts, medication. Etc. I agree that the GP should have asked more life style questions and gone down the elimination route. Rather than just dismiss it.

I should say that these are my personal opinions only.

RICHARD Was spot on. Unfortunately the majority of GPs tend to have the same attitude regarding liver issues (nothing to worry about ). 🥺. I’m just grateful that my own GP referred me immediately following blood results following a yearly health check. Low white platelets count !!.

I must say that my consultant also is excellent, my last consultation was very good, and I left with my next two appointments for check scans and bloods follow ups arranged by him during my consultation.

Chrissie 👌all best wishes.

Are you from Mississauga, Ontario Canada?


I am from Mississauga and had the same experience. My Doc said I had fatty liver had no idea it would progress. I wasn’t given any information just that it was quite normal at my age etc. Just lose a bit of weight. Wonder if we had the same Doctor??!!

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Hello I was same. My gp told me I had fatty liver. Never told me the serious of it. Also I carried on drinking until I got cirrhosis. Deffo could have intervend alot before that with proper advise. But we only a number at end of day. Chris

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