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Sunday, January 27, 2008


The Benefits of Nutrition Therapy in the Liver Transplant Patient

Nutrition is an integral part of healing and maintenance of health. Poor nutritional status in surgical patients leads to less than optimal outcomes. Nutrition intervention is necessary for a malnourished patient's recovery, and it is cost-effective. This is especially true for liver transplant patients who, prior to transplantation, commonly suffer from malnutrition and are at high risk for nutritionally-mediated complications. Loss of body cell mass was associated with a significantly increased posttransplant mortality in a study of 123 patients with cirrhosis. In a separate study, Pikul et al retrospectively evaluated the effect of malnutrition on the postoperative morbidity and mortality in 68 liver transplant recipients; malnutrition was present in 79% of the subjects. Moderate-to-severe malnutrition was associated with prolonged ventilatory support, increased incidence of tracheostomy, and longer intensive care unit and hospital stays. A trend toward increased mortality among malnourished patients also existed (p=0.13).

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