HealthDay News — For overweight/obese patients with compensated cirrhosis and portal hypertension, a lifestyle intervention can reduce body weight and portal pressure, according to a study published in Hepatology.

Annalisa Berzigotti, MD, from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid, and colleagues conducted a multicentric uncontrolled pilot study involving patients with compensated cirrhosis, portal hypertension (hepatic venous pressure gradient [HVPG] ≥ 6 mm Hg), and body mass index (BMI) of ≥ 26 kg/m² in an intensive 16-week lifestyle intervention program. Before and after the intervention, they measured HVPG, body weight and composition, adipokines, health-related quality-of-life, and safety data. Fifty patients completed the study.

The researchers observed a significant decrease in body weight with the lifestyle intervention, by ≥ 5% in 52% of patients and ≥ 10% in 16% of patients. There was also a significant decrease in HVPG, by ≥ 10% in 42% of patients and ≥ 20% in 24% of patients. There was a correlation between a ≥ 10% body weight loss and a greater decrease in HVPG (P =.024). There were no episodes of clinical decompensation. Weight loss at 16 weeks persisted at 6 months.

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“Sixteen weeks of diet and moderate exercise were safe and reduced body weight and portal pressure in overweight/obese patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension,” the authors write.

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Berzigotti A, Albillos A, Villanueva C, et al; Ciberehd SportDiet Collaborative Group. Effects of an intensive lifestyle intervention program on portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis and obesity: The sportdiet study [published online December 20, 2016]. Hepatology. doi: 10.1002/hep.28992