Cirrhosis patients losing muscle mass have a higher death rate
Medical researchers at the University of Alberta reviewed the medical records of more than 100 patients who had a liver scarring condition and discovered those who were losing muscle were more apt to die while waiting for a liver transplant. These cirrhosis patients were placed at a lower spot on the transplant list because they had a higher functioning liver and were seemingly less sick than others with the same condition, based on scoring systems physicians commonly use today.
Michael Sawyer, the principal investigator in the recently published review, says the results demonstrate physicians need to consider muscle mass when assessing where a patient with cirrhosis needs to be placed on the transplant list. Muscle mass, which can be seen through CT images commonly ordered for cirrhosis patients, needs to be considered in conjunction with other factors doctors currently look at, says Sawyer, who is a researcher in the Department of Oncology with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and a practising oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute.
The review conducted by Sawyer and his colleagues was just published in the peer-reviewed journal, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, in the United States. An editorial about this research was also published in the February issue of the journal.
Sawyer and his team studied 112 patients with cirrhosis who were awaiting liver transplants at the University of Alberta Hospital and discovered 40 per cent of them had muscle wasting or low muscle mass. Cirrhosis is the final phase of chronic liver diseases, characterized by scarring of the liver and poor liver function. Those with low muscle mass lived for about 19 months if they couldn't get a transplant, while those with normal muscle mass lived for about 34 months without a liver transplant.
"Patients with cirrhosis who have low muscle mass are actually more sick than what current scoring systems are telling us and many of them die while waiting on the liver transplant lists," says Sawyer.
"Patients with low muscle mass will get put on the list thinking they can wait for around three years, but really they can only wait for about one-and-a-half years.
"Those in the medical field have been looking for better methods to assess patients with cirrhosis and this may be that missing piece to the puzzle. If we can combine this measure of muscle mass with the current scoring system, it will provide a better way of predicting survival rates of patients awaiting liver transplants."
The team's research was funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation, who said the findings will improve care for patients. The study originally looked at the incidence of low muscle mass in both cirrhosis patients and patients with liver cancer. The liver cancer findings are yet to be published.
"Dr. Sawyer's research is an example of how new knowledge and the understanding of disease is vital to advancing clinical care," says Myka Osinchuk, CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. "It is gratifying to know that Dr. Sawyer and his team have taken this research to another, unexpected level and are challenging the medical field to a new way of thinking."
Sawyer and one of his teammates, Aldo J. Montano-Loza, who works in the Division of Gastroenterology in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, have already received further funding from the American College of Gastroenterology to continue their work.
Sawyer is hopeful this additional way of assessing cirrhosis patients awaiting transplants will be incorporated into medical practice within the next three to four years.
Journal reference: Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Provided by University of Alberta
- Vitamin D deficiency in cirrhosis Mar 15, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Liver cancer incidence lower in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease than hepatitis C Sep 27, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Study concludes no racial disparities in long-term outcomes in recipients of liver transplants May 19, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- The economic cost of advanced liver disease Nov 07, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Molecules may help predict survival in liver cancer Jan 30, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
There are significant cost and risk factors associated with two procedures commonly used to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal problems, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes May 18, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Few randomized clinical trials have been done to assess clinical prediction rules for patients with lower back pain, and the trials that have been done are of low quality and do not provide ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
A new, highly sensitive blood test that quickly detects even the lowest levels of malaria parasites in the body could make a dramatic difference in efforts to tackle the disease in the UK and across the world, according to ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
44 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
44 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The devastating effect of Alzheimer's disease on bilingual people has been thrown into focus in Canada, where the sudden loss of a second language can leave sufferers feeling like strangers in their own country.
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Patients with treatment-resistant major depression saw dramatic improvement in their illness after treatment with ketamine, an anesthetic, according to the largest ketamine clinical trial to-date led by researchers from the ...
12 hours ago | 4.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 1