Amal Trigui, Ph.D (cand.)

Nutrition Department
Université de Montréal

Amal Trigui is a biologist graduated from the University of Sfax in Tunisia. She was awarded a National Excellence Scholarship allowing her to pursue her studies in Canada. In 2019, she obtained her master's degree in health sciences research from the Université de Sherbrooke (M.Sc.). She is currently a doctoral student in nutrition at the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal.

She is mainly interested in malnutrition and sarcopenia in candidates for liver transplantation (LT). Her doctoral project aims to assess the effect of early post-LT nutritional supplementation on muscle mass and function, nutritional status and quality of life and the development of complications. The goal of this project is to improve the health and quality of life of people who have received LT through the primary and secondary prevention of malnutrition and sarcopenia that may persist or appear after LT. To assess muscle mass, Amal uses computed tomography CT scan, an X-ray technology with advanced computer analysis to create detailed images of the body.

The effect of early nutritional intervention on muscle mass following liver transplantation

 Remote speaker / Presenting virtually

One in four Canadians has liver disease and is at risk of developing end-stage liver disease (cirrhosis). At this stage, liver transplantation (LT) remains the only curative treatment. In patients with chronic liver disease awaiting LT, protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is the most common complication (> 80%) and one of the main risk factors for the onset and progression of sarcopenia, defined as a loss of muscle mass and function. Sarcopenia is strongly correlated with unfavorable clinical outcomes before, during and after LT. Previous clinical studies have shown that sarcopenia is associated with a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit, increased mortality, longer hospital stay, higher rate of infections and a decrease in quality of life. Our recent retrospective study showed that 48% of cirrhotic patients were sarcopenic before LT whereas 80% of patients were sarcopenic after LT. Remarkably, a significant number of patients who were not sarcopenic before LT developed sarcopenia post-operatively, which identifies a care gap in patients following LT. The objectives of our study are to evaluate the effect of early nutritional supplementation after LT, rich in protein, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB, active metabolite of leucine) and energy on muscle mass and function, nutritional status, quality of life and development of complications. The secondary objective is to assess the longitudinal changes, every 3 months, in nutritional status, quality of life and muscle function of patients waiting for LT. This presentation will include the methodology of this project as well as the preliminary results.