Effect of zinc treatment on clinical outcomes in patients with liver cirrhosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis
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BACKGROUND: Zinc is an essential trace element integral to many cellular and immune functions. Zinc deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with cirrhosis and related to disease severity. AIM: To evaluate whether zinc supplementation improves clinical outcomes (disease severity and mortality) in patients with cirrhosis. METHODS: This prospectively registered systematic review (PROSPERO reference: CRD42018118219) included all studies in Medline, Embase or Cochrane database with inclusion criteria of adult human studies, comparing zinc supplementation of at least 28 d with standard care or placebo in patients with cirrhosis. Mortality and clinical severity score data were extracted. Random effects meta-analyses compared mortality at 6 mo and 2 years. Risk of bias was assessed using the National Institutes of Health quality assessment tool. RESULTS: Seven hundred and twelve articles were identified of which four were eligible. Zinc formulations and doses varied (elemental zinc 3.4-214 mg daily) for different intervention periods in patients with differing etiology and severity of cirrhosis. Two studies were considered to be at high risk of bias. There was no significant difference in 6-mo mortality between patients treated with zinc versus controls [risk ratio 0.98 (0.90-1.05)]. Changes in severity scores were not reported in any study. CONCLUSION: Zinc supplementation is not associated with reduced mortality in patients with cirrhosis. Findings are limited by the small number of eligible studies and significant heterogeneity in intervention and patient population.
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