LOCal Assessment and Triage Evaluation of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (LOCATE – NAFLD)
2019 – 2023
Why the research project was important
NAFLD, a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver in people who drink little or no alcohol, is the most common type of chronic liver disease in Australia and its prevalence is predicted to increase.
Currently, many patients who present to primary care with abnormal liver function tests or steatosis on liver ultrasound are referred for assessment in secondary care. This results in long waits for clinical and fibrosis assessment, placing unnecessary burden on the public hospital system.
What the research sought to do
The LOCATE-NAFLD study was a randomised trial, comparing two alternative models of care for NAFLD (usual care versus LOCATE-NAFLD care).
Participants randomised to the intervention were screened in the community with a non-invasive device called a Fibroscan, a scan they may otherwise have waited months to receive. The scan results can then determined the clinical significance of their disease, with high-risk patients sent to a specialist, and low-risk patients returned to the care of their GP.
What were the research outcomes/ impact
The study aimed to demonstrate a better way of managing NAFLD in the community, quickly identifying patients with clinically significant disease for timely referral into secondary care. Data is currently being analysed with final results to be published shortly.
The LOCATE-NAFLD study is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund Keeping Australians Out of Hospital initiative (GNT1175567).
Learn about our May 2023 forum Addressing the rising burden of liver disease.
Read our protocol publication.