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June 1967

Malabsorption Studies in Cirrhosis of the Liver

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

From the Veterans Administration Hospitals, Phoenix, Ariz, and Washington, DC.

Arch Intern Med. 1967;119(6):567-572. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.00290240089004

The PRESENCE of a malabsorption syndrome in patients with cirrhosis has long been suspected. Mulnutrition,1,2 portal hypertension,3 lack of secretion of bile acids,4-6 pancreatic disease7-10 and mucosal changes of small intestine3 have been listed as possible causes for malabsorption in patients with cirrhosis. A comprehensive evaluation of each of these aspects in the same patient is indeed wanting. The aim of this study is to detect the incidence of malabsorption in patients with Laennec's cirrhosis, and the possible cause of this defect.

Materials and Methods  Twenty patients with cirrhosis of the liver were studied. The diagnosis of Laennec's cirrhosis was established by needle biopsy of the liver. The clinical features of each patient were carefully recorded; presence of muscle wasting, ascites, portal hypertension, precoma and other signs of physical stigmata were noted. A complete liver function profile was done at fortnightly intervals. This included the determination of serum bilirubin, cephalin-cholesterol