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Nutrition. 1996 Jul-Aug;12(7-8):469-74.

Energy metabolism in portal hypertension in children.

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  • 1Child Health Centre, Department of Gastroenterology, Warsaw, Poland.


This study was designed to assess resting energy expenditure (REE) and nutritional status in children with hepatic and prehepatic portal hypertension in comparison with healthy controls. Twenty-five patients with portal hypertension (PHT) and a history of variceal bleeding were compared with 14 healthy volunteers selected after matching for age and sex. PHT patients were allocated to one of two groups: 11 children with liver cirrhosis and/or chronic hepatitis, aged 14.0 +/- 3.3 y (means +/- SD) or 14 children with extrahepatic portal vein obstruction, aged 12.3 +/- 2.8 y. The control group consisted of 14 healthy children, aged 14.0 +/- 1.8 y. REE (indirect calorimetry) assessed after an overnight fast was significantly higher in PHT patients than in controls when related to body mass (143.7 +/- 29.5 and 116.1 +/- 5.9 kJ/kg, respectively; p < 0.004), lean body mass (168.0 +/- 28.9 and 146.4 +/- 14.1 kJ/kg, respectively; p < 0.02), and body surface area (7480 +/- 736 and 6590 +/- 567 kJ/1.73 m2, respectively; p < 0.001). The ratios of measured REE to basal energy expenditure calculated from standard equations (Schofield equations) indicated higher REE in PHT patients (102.24 +/- 6.90% and 93.54 +/- 4.47%, respectively; p < 0.001). Fat was the predominant source of energy in both PHT patients and controls; the percentage of nonprotein energy derived from carbohydrate oxidation was equaled: 36.04 +/- 18.84% and 37.15 +/- 15.71%, respectively. Analysis of percentage of undernutrition in PHT patients and controls revealed significant differences (44% and 21%, respectively; p < 0.001). Children with PHT are susceptible to malnutrition and have elevated REE compared with healthy controls. Fat is the principal basal state oxidative substrate for patients with PHT and healthy children.

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