Fatty liver is excessive accumulation of lipid in hepatocytes, the most common liver response to injury.
Fatty liver develops for many reasons, involves many different biochemical mechanisms, and causes different types of liver damage. Clinically, it is most useful to distinguish fatty liver due to pregnancy or alcoholic liver disease (see Alcoholic Liver Disease) from that occurring in the absence of pregnancy and alcoholism (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease [NAFLD]). NAFLD includes simple fatty infiltration (a benign condition) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (see Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)), a less common but more important variant.
Last full review/revision July 2014 by Steven K. Herrine, MD
Content last modified July 2014