What dietary modifications are needed 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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Many patients complain of anorexia, which may be compounded by the direct compression of ascites on the GI tract. Care should be taken to ensure that patients receive adequate calories and protein in their diets. Patients frequently benefit from the addition of commonly available liquid and powdered nutritional supplements to the diet. Only rarely are patients not able to tolerate proteins in the form of chicken, fish, vegetables, and nutritional supplements. Institution of a low-protein diet out of concern that hepatic encephalopathy may develop places the patient at risk for profound muscle wasting.

The 2010 practice guidelines for alcoholic liver disease published by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the American College of Gastroenterology recommend aggressive treatment of protein calorie malnutrition in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Multiple feedings per day, including breakfast and a snack at night, are specified. [57]

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