Malnutrition has become a dangerously common problem in children with chronic liver disease, negatively impacting neurocognitive development and growth. Furthermore, many children with chronic liver disease will eventually require liver transplantation. Thus, this association between malnourishment and chronic liver disease in children becomes increasingly alarming as malnutrition is a predictor of poorer outcomes in liver transplantation and is often associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Malnutrition requires aggressive and appropriate management to correct nutritional deficiencies. A comprehensive review of the literature has found that infants with chronic liver disease (CLD) are particularly susceptible to malnutrition given their low reserves. Children with CLD would benefit from early intervention by a multi-disciplinary team, to try to achieve nutritional rehabilitation as well as to optimize outcomes for liver transplant. This review explains the multifactorial nature of malnutrition in children with chronic liver disease, defines the nutritional needs of these children, and discusses ways to optimize their nutritional.
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