CDTRP UdeM Research Innovation Grant awardee – Optimizing post-liver transplantation outcomes: targeting the muscle (Chantal Bémeur)

Through collaboration with partner organizations, CDTRP is pleased to offer our annual Research Innovation Grant competition to fund exciting new project ideas. Over the coming weeks, we will be profiling all of the projects funded in the 2021 competition.

Funded through a CDTRP UdeM Research Innovation Grant

Title: Optimizing post-liver transplantation outcomes: targeting the muscle

  • Principal investigator: Chantal Bémeur
  • Main affiliation: Université de Montréal
  • Part of Theme 5
Lay Abstract

Liver transplantation (LT) is the only cure for chronic liver disease. However. LT surgery comes along with adverse effects including loss of muscle health and malnutrition. Malnutrition, often underestimated in liver transplant candidates, represents a potentially reversible risk factor for morbidity and mortality after LT. However, very few studies have addressed the issue of muscle mass and function loss and malnutrition in liver transplant patients whereas guidelines for nutritional management following LT do not exist. We think that prompt and early post-LT nutrition intervention, including protein, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB; produced when the body breaks down leucine which is a building block of protein) and vitamin D, improves muscle health, nutritional status and overall quality of life as well as decreases post-operative complications. To verify this, we will enroll 30 transplanted patients and they will be randomly assigned to two different groups: (1) a control group that receives standard care and follows usual dietary advice and (2) an intervention group which receives nutritional supplements in addition to standard care and dietary advice for 12 weeks. We will then determine the effect of protein supplementation on muscle health, nutritional status, quality of life and the appearance of complications. We believe results from this project will emphasize the need for enhanced nutritional management as standard care for all LT patients. This will lead to a better prognosis and improve quality of life of patients after LT.