The clinical relevance of malnutrition and hypermetabolism in end-stage liver disease, as well as their effects on survival after liver transplantation (LTx), are largely unknown. This study investigates the prognostic value of nutritional and metabolic parameters obtained before LTx for survival after LTx. One hundred fifty patients with end-stage liver disease undergoing LTx were assessed prospectively and followed for a mean period of 46 +/- 16 months after LTx. All patients were randomized into a study group and a validation group, each comprising 75 patients. Body composition analysis (24-hour urinary creatinine excretion, anthropometry, bioelectrical impedance analysis), deviation of measured from predicted resting energy expenditure (deltaREE), year of transplantation, and several variables known to be of prognostic relevance in patients with liver disease undergoing conservative treatment were analyzed. Kaplan-Meier and log rank analysis showed that hypermetabolic patients (deltaREE > +20%) and patients with a body cell mass (BCM) < 35% of body weight tended to have reduced survival after LTx. A risk profile on the basis of deltaREE and BCM identified patients with high risk (5-year survival rate, 54%) and low risk (5-year survival rate, 88%; P < .01). The predictive power of this risk profile was independent of the presence of ascites and clinical edema, and its validity was confirmed in the validation group (P < .01). The Child-Pugh score was not of prognostic value. We conclude that a poor nutritional state, as well as hypermetabolism, adversely affects survival after LTx. These potentially treatable presurgical factors deserve close attention in interventional studies.