Review: Nutritional Support for Patients With Cirrhosis

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1997 Apr;12(4):282-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.1997.tb00422.x.


Nutritional support is indicated when cirrhotic patients undergo surgery because they are malnourished, hypercatabolic and immunocompromised. However, the choice of nutrient may be problematic as the liver itself is the central organ of protein, fat and glucose metabolism. Branched chain amino acid-enriched solution may be the choice of protein source, as it is anticatabolic and it stimulates liver regeneration. Excessive glucose is undesirable as it may suppress endogenous fat utilization, which may be the preferred pathway of metabolism after hepatectomy. Medium chain triglycerides are preferred to long chain triglycerides as they are readily utilized and are not deposited in the liver; however, the tendency of cirrhotic patients to accumulate free fatty acids and glycerol after infusion of triglycerides dictates their use intermittently. Clinical studies have shown that perioperative nutritional support is beneficial in cirrhotic patients undergoing major hepatectomy or liver transplantation. The judicious choice of nutrient, care of the catheter and a limitation of the fluid infused are all prerequisites for the efficient use of perioperative nutritional support, which is complementary to a technically perfect operation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Food, Formulated
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy*
  • Nutritional Support*