Guidelines for specialized nutritional and metabolic support in the critically-ill patient: update. Consensus SEMICYUC-SENPE: liver failure and liver transplantation

Nutr Hosp. 2011 Nov;26 Suppl 2:27-31. doi: 10.1590/S0212-16112011000800006.


Patients with liver failure have a high prevalence of malnutrition, which is related to metabolic abnormalities due to the liver disease, reduced nutrient intake and alterations in digestive function, among other factors. In general, in patients with liver failure, metabolic and nutritional support should aim to provide adequate nutrient intake and, at the same time, to contribute to patients' recovery through control or reversal of metabolic alterations. In critically-ill patients with liver failure, current knowledge indicates that the organ failure is not the main factor to be considered when choosing the nutritional regimen. As in other critically-ill patients, the enteral route should be used whenever possible. The composition of the nutritional formula should be adapted to the patient's metabolic stress. Despite the physiopathological basis classically described by some authors who consider amino acid imbalance to be a triggering factor and key element in maintaining encephalopathy, there are insufficient data to recommend "specific" solutions (branched-chain amino acid-enriched with low aromatic amino acids) as part of nutritional support in patients with acute liver failure. In patients undergoing liver transplantation, nutrient intake should be started early in the postoperative period through transpyloric access. Prevention of the hepatic alterations associated with nutritional support should also be considered in distinct clinical scenarios.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Consensus
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / etiology
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure / etiology
  • Liver Failure / metabolism
  • Liver Failure / therapy*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods*
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Nutritional Support / adverse effects
  • Nutritional Support / methods*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Trace Elements / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamins