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March 1956


Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1956;97(3):340-351. doi:10.1001/archinte.1956.00250210086008

CIRRHOSIS chronic disease caused by serious parenchymal damage to the liver, usually of long-continued or repetitive type, in which malnutrition is usually regarded as an important accompanying and predisposing etiological factor. Because of its vital and widely diversified metabolic functions, the liver is commonly exposed to a variety of damaging agents in the form of toxic chemicals, infections, circulatory disturbances, and systemic metabolic abnormalities, but the nutritional state of the organism is believed to act as a basic underlying factor which is capable of conditioning susceptibility or resistance to cellular injury. The specificity of essential nutrients in the defense against liver damage is poorly defined except for the high protective function of protein of excellent biological value and, possibly, for the "methyl donor compounds" choline and methionine, both of which are present in normally adequate amounts in a well-balanced protein ration.

Many classifications of hepatic cirrhosis have been proposed in