Background and Aims: Patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) often have malnutrition (MN), which can be associated with decompensation, infection, and death. The aims were to determine: the prevalence of MN in patients with LC and ascites, its impact on mortality, and the relationship between MN and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP).

Methods: Nutritional status (NS) was analysed in cirrhotic patients, experiencing their first episode of ascites, who were consecutively admitted at two clinical liver centres between November 2014 and October 2016. The participants underwent diagnostic paracentesis and were followed up to assess their outcomes.

Results: 110 participants underwent NS assessment in addition to routine clinical procedures. The prevalence of MN was 30.9% according to corrected body mass index, 67.3% according to upper mid-arm muscle area (UMA) and 40% according to upper mid-arm fat area (UFA). The percentages of the participants remaining alive were 68.1% at 3 months, 59.3% at 6 months, 45.1% at 12 months and 24.2% at the end of the study. Univariate analysis showed that SBP, model for end-stage liver disease (MELD), UFA, UMA and age were significantly associated with mortality. Multivariate analysis showed that only SBP, MELD and UFA (hazard ratio 2.2) were independently associated with mortality. There was a correlation between adipopenia, but not sarcopenia, and SBP.

Conclusions: Adipopenia, as assessed by UFA, was present in 40% of the cirrhotic patients, and it was independently associated with mortality.


malnutrition, adipopenia, sarcopenia, liver cirrhosis, ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, prognosis