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The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has significantly risen all around the world. Although visceral fat mass has been identified as an independent risk factor for NAFLD, the association of other ectopic fat depots, such as Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT), with the disease has not been fully elucidated. The aim of the current study was to systematically review all available human studies conducted on the associations between EAT and NAFLD. All human studies published in English, which examined the association between the thickness or the volume of EAT and the incidence of NAFLD were systematically searched on PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar search engines, from inception up to April 2021. Eighteen studies that met inclusion criteria were included in the final review. A total of 86 studies were found through searching the databases. After excluding duplicates, seventy six remained studies were scanned by title and abstract, out of which, 58 were excluded. Finally, eighteen articles (thirteen cross-sectional studies and five case-control studies) published between 2008 and 2021, were included in the review. According to the results of the reviewed articles, EAT was associated with the presence and progression of NAFLD. Furthermore, NAFLD patients with thicker EAT may need a more intensive hepatic follow-up. However, we suggest further investigation to find out the underlying mechanisms describing the observed association.
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