[Nutritional assessment in patients with cirrhosis: the use of indirect calorimetry]

Arq Gastroenterol. 2004 Oct-Dec;41(4):220-4. doi: 10.1590/s0004-28032004000400004. Epub 2005 Mar 29.
[Article in Portuguese]


Background: Malnutrition is frequent in cirrhotic patients, and its assessment is difficult. Functional assessment through a dynamometer is a simple method and could minimize these drawbacks. Harris-Benedict prediction formulae estimates the resting energy expenditure but has not been validated for this population. One alternative is the use of indirect calorimetry.

Aim: To assess nutritional status in cirrhotic patients and estimates the resting energy expenditure through indirect calorimetry and compares it to Harris-Benedict.

Patients and methods: Thirty four adult hepatitis C cirrhotic outpatients were studied, classified by Child-Pugh and model of end-stage liver disease score. The resting energy expenditure was predicted through Harris-Benedict and measured by indirect calorimetry. Nutritional assessment was done through anthropometry, subjective global assessment, hand-grip strength and a 3-day recall.

Results: Fifteen (44.2%) were Child-Pug A, 12 (35.3%) B and 7 (20.6%) C, and 33 (97.1%) had model of end-stage liver disease scores less than 20. The resting energy expenditure predicted was higher than the measured (Harris-Benedict 1404.5 +/- 150.3 kcal; indirect calorimetry 1059.9 +/- 309.6 kcal). The prevalence of malnutrition varied between methods (body mass index, muscle arm circumference, subjective global assessment, triceps skinfold thickness and hand-grip strength: 0; 5.9; 17.6; 35.3 and 79.4%, accordingly). Calories and proteins intake were 80% and 85% of recommended amounts and there was inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

Conclusion: Malnutrition was frequent and hand-grip strength seemed to be the most sensitive method for its diagnosis. Calories and protein intakes were inadequate. Considering that the predicted resting energy expenditure was higher than the measured one and the need to offer higher caloric intake, the use of the predicting equation may replace indirect calorimetry.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Calorimetry, Indirect*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / virology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Nutrition Disorders / etiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index