Background & Aims: Protein calorie malnutrition and weight loss are common among patients with cirrhosis and ascites. The cause of these symptoms is unclear, with several putative mechanisms proposed. The primary aims of this study were to compare gastric volumes and accommodation between patients with cirrhosis complicated by ascites and healthy controls, and to evaluate the effect of large-volume paracentesis in the patient group. Methods: Patients with cirrhosis and ascites underwent assessment of gastric volumes as measured by single-photon emission computed tomography, gastric sensation assessed by a validated nutrient drink test, and a 3-day assessment of caloric intake before and after large-volume paracentesis. Age- and sex-adjusted linear regression models were used to compare gastric volumes and accommodation ratios between patients and healthy volunteers. Paired Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to compare gastric measures before and after paracentesis among the patient group. Results: Fifteen patients (median age, 54 y) were compared with 112 healthy (age- and sex-matched) controls. Median postprandial gastric volumes (627 mL patients vs 721 healthy controls) and gastric accommodation were reduced significantly in patients compared with healthy controls (P = .02 and .006, respectively). After paracentesis: (1) fasting gastric volumes were increased (median 312 mL post- vs 241 mL pre-, P = .04), (2) patients tolerated ingestion of larger maximum volumes (median 964 mL post- vs 738 mL pre-, P = .04), and (3) caloric intake was increased (median 34% kcal post- vs 3110 kcal pre-, P = .005). Conclusions: Postprandial gastric volumes and accommodation ratios are reduced in patients with cirrhosis and ascites compared with healthy controls. In addition, large-volume paracentesis increases fasting gastric volumes, volumes ingested until maximal satiation, and caloric intake.
ASJC Scopus subject areas