Resolving Malnutrition With Parenteral Nutrition Before Liver Transplant in Biliary Atresia

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Abstract

Objective:

Malnutrition is a common complication of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) associated with poor liver transplant outcomes. Nasogastric feeds are used for nutritional supplementation, but some patients remain malnourished. Parenteral nutrition (PN) can be effective, but has potential complications. The primary objective was to evaluate the effect of PN on anthropometric measures in children with ESLD awaiting liver transplant. Secondary objectives were evaluation of PN-associated complications, liver function tests, pediatric end-stage liver disease scores, waitlist time, and post-transplant length of stay (total and time in the intensive care unit).

Methods:

A single-center, retrospective chart review analyzing pediatric patients with ESLD receiving PN who were transplanted during a 6-year period. Data were trended and described over time, as were the relationships between anthropometric data and time receiving PN.

Results:

A total of 44 patients with ESLD were transplanted between January 2010 and December 2015. Eighteen (41%) received PN before transplant; all had biliary atresia with median age at transplant of 10 months (range, 5–18 months). Mid-upper arm circumference and triceps skinfold thickness showed resolution of malnutrition in 7 patients (39%) with normalization of 1 measure in another 4 patients (22%). Of the remaining, 6 had improved z scores and 1 had worsening malnutrition. No deaths occurred in patients receiving PN. Central line infection rates were 3.8/1000 catheter days with 8 total infections in 6 patients over a total of 2117 catheter days.

Conclusions:

Children with ESLD and malnutrition who have failed enteral feeding may benefit from PN to improve and/or resolve malnutrition before liver transplant.

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