When is protein restriction indicated in the treatment of cirrhosis?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: David C Wolf, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Protein restriction is rarely necessary in patients with symptoms of chronic encephalopathy. Many patients with cirrhosis have protein-calorie malnutrition at baseline; the routine restriction of dietary protein intake increases their risk for worsening malnutrition.

In the author's opinion, protein restriction is infrequently valuable in patients with an acute flare-up of symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy. One study randomized hospitalized patients with hepatic encephalopathy to receive either a normal-protein diet or a low-protein diet, in addition to standard treatment measures, and found no difference between the 2 groups in outcomes for hepatic encephalopathy. [44]

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