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Cardiometabolic risk factors are increasing in liver transplant recipients (LTR). Influencing dietary factors have not been assessed. The aim of this observational study was to assess changes in weight, metabolic function, dietary intake and eating behaviours in the first year after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT).
Consecutive recruitment of 17 patients (14 males) awaiting OLT at a single tertiary hospital. Dietary intake, food behaviours and anthropometry were recorded at baseline, and 6 and 12 months post-transplant.
By 12 months, patients had gained on average 7.3% of body weight. The prevalence of overweight or obesity increased from baseline 53% to 77% (P=0.001). By 6 months, 65% (n=11/17) of patients had altered glucose metabolism. Dietary intake was consistent with a Western-style dietary pattern with high saturated fat. Over half of the patients (69%, n=11/16) reported low to no depressive feelings and rated their self-esteem as good (53%, n=9/16). The Power of Food Scale increased between pre and post-transplant, indicating a stronger appetitive drive.
Weight gain occurs early post-transplant, with significant metabolic dysfunction present within 6 months, however is not associated with significant psychological distress. Early dietary intervention designed to limit weight gain and target cardiometabolic health is recommended for this unique patient population.
This document has been peer reviewed.