Background: Malnutrition is one of the most common complications in the increasing number of patients suffering from chronic liver disease (CLD) and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Traditional tools used to evaluate nutritional status are not reliable in CLD due to limitations related to weight, which may be artificially increased by the presence of ascites, underestimating malnutrition. New strategies to assess nutritional status focusing on early malnutrition detection are an unmet clinical need. The aim of this pilot study is to describe the performance of different measures of nutrition including body mass index (BMI), handgrip strength (HGS), mid-arm muscle circumference (MAMC) in relation to subjective global assessment (SGA).
Methods: In this ongoing prospective study, patients with and without CLD are recruited at Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (St-Luc Hospital) in Canada. We assess nutritional status via: BMI, HGS as measured with a calibrated dynamometer, MAMC calculated with the mid-arm circumference and the tricipital skinfold and a modified version of the SGA for CLD patients, Spearman correlation coefficient is used to assess correlation between different tools.
Results : We recruited 36 and 18 patients with and without CLD and 18 patients, respectively.
Conclusions: Our preliminary results indicate that BMI and HGS, but not MAMC tend to decrease according to the nutritional status (no malnutrition, mild or moderate malnutrition) determined by SGA. Further patients are required to statistically identify a reliable tool and be able to evaluate nutritional status in cirrhosis as well as detect malnutrition in its early stage.