Efficacy of Physical Activity in Prevention of Muscle Weakness in Patients With Chronic Liver Disease

Kazuki Ohashi, Toru Ishikawa, Asami Hoshii, Tamaki Hokari, Mitsuyuki Suzuki, Yuta Mitobe, Etsuko Yamada, Hansani Madushika Abeywickrama, Yuko Kikuchi, Hirohito Noguchi, Hiroshi Hirosawa, Yu Koyama


Background: Sarcopenia is a prognostic factor for patients with liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and it affects the onset of hepatic encephalopathy. Therefore, the prevention of sarcopenia contributes to the improvement of the prognosis of patients with chronic liver disease (CLD). We focused on changes of hand grip strength (HGS), one of the indicators of sarcopenia. However, there are little data investigating the impact of physical activity (PA) on HGS in patients with CLD. This study aimed to clarify whether PA contributes to the prevention of muscle weakness in patients with CLD.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study. We examined the effect of PA on changes in HGS from the baseline to the endpoint in each group. Metabolic equivalents-hour/week (METs-h/w) was used to evaluate PA. In total, 183 outpatients with CLD were analyzed. We divided participants into four groups (low PA in younger patients (n = 20), high PA in younger patients (n = 33), low PA in elderly patients (n = 47), and high PA in elderly patients (n = 83)).

Results: Fifty-eight percent of patients were men, and the median (interquartile range) age was 69.0 (63.0, 75.0) years. The most common etiology of liver disease was hepatitis C (38%). The frequency of living alone and low exercise habit was significantly high, and sarcopenia was more obvious in elderly patients with low PA than in those with high PA. Additionally, the elderly with low PA showed significantly reduced HGS compared to that of the elderly with high PA (-1.00 (-2.27, 0.55) kg vs. 0.10 (-1.40, 1.10) kg, P < 0.05). However, changes in HGS in younger patients were not significant (-0.02 (1.83, 1.47) kg vs. 0.25 (-2.45, 2.05) kg, P = 0.96). Logistic regression analyses identified PA as the independent factor for prevention of decrease in HGS (odds ratio: 1.91, 95% confidence interval: 1.00 - 3.62, P = 0.049).

Conclusions: Young patients with low PA were characterized by a long sedentary time; however, there was no loss of HGS. In contrast, elderly patients with CLD and low PA had significantly reduced HGS compared to that in elderly patients with CLD and high PA.

J Clin Med Res. 2019;11(10):711-719
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr3978


Sarcopenia; Chronic liver disease; Physical activity; Skeletal muscle mass

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