Context: Malnutrition is widely described in patients waiting for liver transplantation (LTx). However, risk factors associated with weight loss during liver disease have not yet been well studied.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess weight loss and its risk factors during liver disease and up to the first appointment after transplantation. Patients who underwent LTx were retrospectively assessed for weight loss during liver disease while on the waiting list for LTx. The usual weight of the patients before disease and their weight on the first outpatient appointment after transplant were considered. Demographic, socioeconomic, lifestyle and clinical variables were collected to assess risk factors using a linear regression analysis. We retrospectively evaluated 163 patients undergoing LTx between 1997 and 2008.
Results: Patients lost in average 7.7 ± 12.4 kg while ill. Variables independently associated with weight loss by multiple linear regression analyses were as follows: former smoker (P = 0.03), greater body mass index (P<0.01), overweight before liver disease (P = 0.02) and indication for LTx (P = 0.01). Among these indications, patients with alcoholic cirrhosis had lost significantly more weight (P<0.01), and those with hepatitis C virus (P = 0.01) and autoimmune hepatitis (P = 0.02) had lost significantly less weight.
Conclusions: Patients experienced weight loss during liver disease independent of age, sex, schooling and income; however, the etiology of liver disease was related to weight loss.