Therapeutic Effectiveness of Nutrition Therapy in Pediatric Patients with Chronic Liver Diseases Awaiting Liver Transplantation

  •  Marco Giammanco    
  •  Silvana Bavetta    
  •  Rossella Greco    
  •  Danila Majo    
  •  Maurizio Guardia    


It is important to prevent protein/calorie malnutrition in children with end stage liver diseases prior to transplantation. This study involved 34 patients between the ages of 10 and 156 months (mean value 25.69 months ± 32.2) (13 females and 21 males) on the liver transplant waiting list. Data collected as of three months before transplant and up to ten months after the procedure concerned gender, age, weight, height, Pediatric End Stage Liver Disease Score, baseline pathology, type of nutrition, type of transplant, immunosuppression, pulse steroid therapy, length of stay, and post transplant complications. Linear regression analysis showed that the length of hospital stay was 24.5 days more for females than for males, but also that intensive nutrition therapy shortens this stay for both female patients (P = 0.085) and younger patients (P = 0.023). The study population was divided into two groups according to the different nutritional therapies adopted. The Student’s t-test and Mann-Whitney test evidenced that the group receiving intensive nutrition therapy grew taller compared with the group following an oral diet (mean -1.37 and Prob = 0.043); that females grew taller compared to males (mean -1.65 +/- 0.56); and that there was an increase in height among the children in the group receiving intensive nutrition therapy despite the presence (-1.37 +/- 0.56) or absence (-14.8 +/- 5.44 and Prob = 0.035) of complications, and despite the administration (-1.03 +/- 0.33) or non administration (-1.48 +/- 0.55 and Prob = 0.019) of steroids. Intensive nutrition therapy enhances the velocity of growth in height and shortens the length of hospital stay, thus optimizing the final prognosis of the baseline pathology.

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