Liver Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Hepatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Cirrhosis is associated with debilitating complications that significantly impact on a patient's physical function and reduce quality of life. Owing to highly prevalent sarcopenia, malnutrition and hepatic encephalopathy, functional impairment or frailty is a common complication of cirrhosis. Frailty in turn increases the patient's risk of hospitalization, accidental falls and fractures, and death. The management of frailty and its associated adverse effects is imperative in improving the overall prognosis of patients with advanced liver disease. The cornerstone of therapy revolves around optimizing physical function with appropriate nutrition and exercise. Nutritional therapy with protein supplementation has shown significant benefit, while studies on exercise have been controversial. However, newly emerging studies trend towards a beneficial effect of physical exercise with improvement in quality of life. The implementation of technology in liver disease management shows future promise. Fitbits and other wearable devices can be used to help monitor a patient's personal progress in physical exercise and nutritional optimization. Additionally, the progressive development of new smartphone applications to help aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of complications of cirrhosis provides a sophisticated avenue for improving care of patients with cirrhosis.