Purpose: Patients with cirrhosis often experience muscle cramps with varying severity. We investigated the factors associated with the prevalence and morbidity associated with muscle cramps. Methods: A total of 150 adult patients with cirrhosis were enrolled consecutively. Cramp questionnaire with visual analogue scale for pain, Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire (CLDQ), and blood for measurement of 25-(OH) vitamin D levels were obtained after informed consent. Results: A total of 101 patients (67%) reported muscle cramps in the preceding 3 months. Patients with cramps had significantly lower serum albumin (3.1 ± 0.6 g/dL vs 3.3 ± 0.7 g/dL, P =.04) and CLDQ scores (107 ± 37 vs 137 ± 34, P <.0001) compared with those without cramps. The median composite symptom score, defined as product of frequency and severity of cramps, in the study cohort was 12 with a range of 0.3 to 200. There were no clinical or biochemical predictors for occurrence of any cramps or severe cramps (composite symptom score > 12). Muscle cramps (P <.001) and hepatic encephalopathy (P =.009) were associated independently with decreased CLDQ scores. Vitamin D deficiency was seen in 66% of the study cohort, but the serum 25-(OH) vitamin D levels were not significantly different between patients with and without cramps (18.0 ± 8.9 ng/mL vs 19.6 ± 9.5 ng/mL, P =.49). Conclusions: Muscle cramps are associated with significantly diminished quality of life in patients with cirrhosis. More research is needed to better understand their mechanism to develop effective treatment.
- Chronic liver disease questionnaire
- Muscle cramps
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