Curr Hepatol Rep. 2020 Mar;19(1):13-22. doi: 10.1007/s11901-020-00510-4. Epub 2020 Mar 5.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The burden of malnutrition is high in patients with cirrhosis, especially in those with hepatic encephalopathy (HE). This has a bearing on increased morbidity and mortality. Heightened attention needs to be paid to screen the patients at high nutritional risk both in the outpatient and hospitalized settings. This review summarizes the current evidence for nutritional support in HE patients and compares the recommendations about nutritional requirement as laid out by various organizations.
RECENT FINDINGS: On survey of the literature, there is a consensus on avoiding protein restriction of the diets in HE patients along with uniform recommendations on caloric requirements. An exciting field of manipulating the gut microbiome in nutritional sciences may hold promise as well as there may be a future role for branched chain amino acids in nutritional management of HE patients.
SUMMARY: Even though the data suggest that nutritional improvement lead to better outcomes including lower readmission rates in cirrhosis, operationalizing these into practice remains a challenge. To achieve this, a multi-disciplinary approach with nutritional education of the frontline care providers, earlier nutritional risk screening of patients, involvement of the nutrition professionals as part of the team and repeated dietary counseling for the patient and caregiver/s is required. Ultimately, this may need more focus, resource allocation and uniform guidelines across all countries to make this a success.