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Dig Liver Dis. 2005 Sep;37(9):681-8.

Nutritional state and energy balance in cirrhotic patients with or without hypermetabolism. Multicentre prospective study by the 'Nutritional Problems in Gastroenterology' Section of the Italian Society of Gastroenterology (SIGE).

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  • 1Section of Gastroenterology, D.E.T.O. University of Bari, Bari, Italy.



A total of 334 stable, compensated cirrhotic patients admitted to 10 Italian Gastroenterology Units were included in a prospective study to evaluate nutritional state and energy balance in liver cirrhosis.


Nutritional state and calorie intake were examined in the total population, while adequacy of calorie intake versus measured total energy expenditure was evaluated in a comparable subpopulation and in 40 matched controls, by computing the energy balance.


Our data demonstrated that: (i) malnutrition was present in 25% of the total patients and significantly correlated with the Child's group (A=16%; B=25%; C=44%); (ii) the type of malnutrition is influenced by mBEE: normometabolic patients exhibit a significant (p<0.005) reduction of mid-arm fat area while both hypermetabolic and hypometabolic patients show a significant (p<0.005) decline in kg of free fat mass; (iii) normometabolic and hypometabolic patients have a negative energy balance, due to a high level of physical activity (127+/-14 kJ) in the first group and a reduced energy intake/kg body weight (102+/-12 kJ) in the second; (iv) hypermetabolic patients have a positive energy balance due to decreased daily physical activity/kg body weight (108+/-28 kJ); (v) malnourished and normometabolic patients eat a significantly (p<0.05) reduced percentage of protein whereas malnourished and hypermetabolic patients eat a significantly increased percentage of fat (p<0.05).


Although multivariate regression analysis confirms that the Child-Pugh's score is a better independent predictor of malnutrition, the measure of REE, TEE, calorie intake and energy balance need to be routinely performed in cirrhotic patients, in order to recognise hypermetabolic and hypometabolic patients (approximately 30%) in whom the nutritional and metabolic parameters are indispensable as a basis for designing and prescribing personalised nutritional strategies that can treat muscle malnutrition and thus improve the morbidity and mortality rates.

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