Background. Poor preoperative nutritional status has been reported to be associated with adverse outcomes after liver transplantation. Published data are, however, conflicting, with methods of preoperative nutritional assessment and postoperative outcomes varying between studies. Methods. We prospectively studied the predictive value of preoperative nutritional status for adverse outcomes after liver transplantation. Assessment of preoperative nutritional status included: body cell mass determination, subjective global assessment, anthropometry, handgrip dynamometry, biochemical and amino acid profile, Child's score, and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Death, intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay ≥4 days, hospital length of stay ≥15 days, blood usage ≥36 U of blood products, infection, rejection, and global resource utilization (an index of cost) greater than the median were considered poor outcomes. Results. Fifty-three patients were studied. Longer ICU stay was associated with lower handgrip strength (P<0.01) and lower aromatic amino acid levels (P<0.01). Longer total hospital stay and the development of infections were associated with lower branched chain amino acid levels (P<0.01 and <0.001, respectively). Acute cellular rejection was associated with lower total body fat (P<0.001) and higher triglyceride levels (P<0.02). Neither death nor higher global resource utilization was associated with any preoperative nutritional parameter. Conclusions. Lower preoperative handgrip strength and branched chain amino acid levels are associated with longer ICU stays and increased likelihood of posttransplant infections. In our program, in which nutritional support was provided to potential recipients exhibiting malnourishment, none of the measured nutritional parameters were associated with mortality or greater global resource utilization.
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