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Computerized tomographic (CT) scanning of the liver was undertaken in 17 occasional and 19 heavy drinkers undergoing health screening. The median attenuation value of the liver (CT number) in occasional drinkers with normal liver function tests was 54.4 compared with 25.9 in the heavy drinkers (P less than 0.001). Fourteen of the heavy drinkers had a CT number below the lowest value observed in occasional drinkers with normal liver function, indicating reduced liver density due to fatty change. Serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase was normal in 36% of these individuals. A rise in CT number was observed in 4 out of 5 heavy drinkers who underwent a second scan after decreasing their alcohol consumption. These findings suggest that CT scanning provides a noninvasive and convenient method of screening for a fatty liver, which occurred to a variable degree in over 70% of the men who admitted to regularly taking 8 or more alcoholic drinks per day.