Liver cirrhosis: rationale and modalities for nutritional support - the European Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition consensus and beyond

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Evaluation of nutritional status is a major problem in patients with liver cirrhosis this is due to water retention and the effect of liver function on protein synthesis. Despite problems evaluating the patient, malnutrition has been found to be a common complication in liver cirrhosis and is associated with poorer outcome. Nutritional restrictions, like protein restriction, are no longer recommended in most patients with liver cirrhosis but are considered harmful. An intake of 1 to 1.5 g/kg protein and 25 to 40 kcal/kg body weight a day is recommended (depending on the situation of the patient). If adequate intake cannot be achieved by oral nutrition, stepwise nutritional support with the introduction of an additional late evening meal, sip feeding or tube feeding is recommended. Parenteral nutrition should be used as a second line treatment for acutely ill patients. Data indicate that improvement of nutritional status prior to liver transplantation might reduce complications.

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