Patients with cirrhosis often experience muscle cramps with varying severity. We investigated the factors associated with the prevalence and morbidity associated with muscle cramps.
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.
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 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).
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.