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Gastroenterology. 1992 Jan;102(1):200-5.

Accelerated improvement of alcoholic liver disease with enteral nutrition.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, California.


This prospective study compared the effects of tube-fed nutrition with those of a regular diet in alcoholic liver disease. The high prevalence of malnutrition in patients with alcoholic liver disease requires clarification of the benefits of aggressive nutritional support. Patients were randomly assigned a regular diet without or with tube-fed supplementation, delivering 1.5 g/kg protein and 167 kJ/kg daily. Comparisons of encephalopathy, antipyrine clearance, metabolic rate, and biochemical parameters were performed weekly for 4 weeks. Sixteen patients receiving enteral supplementation had antipyrine half-life (50% vs. 3% reduction), serum bilirubin (25% vs. 0% reduction), and median encephalopathy scores that improved more rapidly than those of controls. Initially, 15 controls did not consume adequate calories to meet measured resting energy expenditure. Aggressive nutritional intervention accelerated improvement in alcoholic liver disease. Adverse effects did not offset the demonstrated benefits of a 2-cal/mL, casein-based tube-fed supplement. These findings support the use of standard, casein-based solutions in the treatment of alcoholic liver disease and as the control condition for future studies.

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