Nutritional Assessment in Inpatients With Cirrhosis Can Be Improved After Training and Is Associated With Lower Readmissions

Liver Transpl. 2019 Dec;25(12):1790-1799. doi: 10.1002/lt.25602. Epub 2019 Aug 21.


Malnutrition is widely prevalent in cirrhosis patients, which can worsen sarcopenia, hepatic encephalopathy (HE), and overall prognosis. We aimed to define the frequency of nutritional assessments of patients with cirrhosis in retrospective and prospective (after educational training) cohorts and to evaluate prospective changes along with their effects on 90-day readmissions. This study was conducted in 2 phases. Retrospectively, records of hospitalized patients with cirrhosis from the university and Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) settings were reviewed to assess nutritional status, if a nutrition consultation occurred, the number of days patients were nil per os (npo) and received inadequate nutrition, and if nutritional management was guideline directed. In the prospective phase, after dedicated educational efforts directed at the stakeholders regarding nutritional guidelines for patients with cirrhosis, subsequently hospitalized cirrhosis patients had nutritional and 90-day readmission data collected for comparison between groups. In total, 279 patients were included in the retrospective phase (150 university/129 VAMC), and 102 VAMC patients were in the prospective phase. Cirrhosis severity, reason for admission, and hospital course were similar between groups regardless of cohort, ie, prospective versus retrospective or VAMC versus university. The prospective group had significantly more nutritional consultations and assessments (74.5% versus 40.1%; P < 0.001) compared with the retrospective group regardless of comparisons between the VAMC and university cohorts. Both groups had a similar number of days npo, but the prospective group had fewer days of inadequate nutrition. The 90-day readmission rate was significantly lower in the prospective group versus the retrospective group (39.4% versus 28.4%; P = 0.04), which was associated with greater nutrition outpatient follow-up. In conclusion, nutritional consultation rates in inpatients with cirrhosis can be significantly improved after educational intervention and is associated with lower 90-day readmission rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis*
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Malnutrition / prevention & control
  • Malnutrition / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutritionists / organization & administration
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index