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Clin Nutr. 2005 Oct;24(5):751-9. Epub 2005 Apr 7.

Effects of an appropriate oral diet on the nutritional status of patients with HCV-related liver cirrhosis: a prospective study.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Federico II University of Naples, Italy.



In patients with liver cirrhosis, protein-energy malnutrition is a frequent finding and a risk factor influencing survival. The aim was to estimate the effects of an adequate diet on malnutrition and clinical outcome in patients with Child A or B HCV-related liver cirrhosis.


We enrolled 90 consecutive outpatients (M/F=52/38) with liver cirrhosis, 30 in Child class A and 60 in class B. Patients were evaluated by anamnesis, clinical examination, estimation of daily caloric intake and measurement of anthropometrical and biochemical indexes. Patients were randomized into two groups: group 1 with a 3-month oral controlled diet started one week after the first examination and this was followed by a 3-month of spontaneous dietary intake, and group 2 which started a 3-month spontaneous dietary intake followed by a 3-month of controlled diet. The follow-up was performed every month.


During the period of controlled diet in patients of both groups, protein malnutrition assessed by midarm muscle circumference, creatinine-height index and serum albumin significantly improved independently of the Child class. Lipid malnutrition, assessed by triceps skin fold thickness values, did not improve during the course of the study. The compliance to the prescribed diet was very high in both groups, and no carry over effect of the previous dietary intake was observed during the follow-up period.


The results emphasize the importance of both nutritional status evaluation and improvement in the Child A and B cirrhotic patients with HCV-related disease. The proposed nutritional approach was able to influence their protein malnutrition positively.

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