When patients with cirrhosis develop ascites, it is associated with sharply increased mortality and healthcare utilization with decreased quality of life. Dietary salt restriction is first-line therapy for ascites but it is limited by poor adherence.


We will recruit 40 patients with cirrhosis and ascites who have received a recent paracentesis or hospitalization for a 1:1 randomized trial of standard care (education on salt restriction) versus home-delivered meals. Our primary outcome is the number of paracenteses needed over 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes include hospital-bed days, health-related quality of life (HRQOL, Ascites Symptom Inventory-7 and Visual Analogue Scale) and performance on batteries of physical function including hand grip (kg) and walk speed (m/s). All subjects follow up through a series of calls where any paracenteses, hospital readmissions, weight changes and diuretic dosage changes are recorded. In a final Week 12 visit, knowledge of dietary sodium intake, quality of life and frailty are reassessed, and satisfaction with the meal-delivery program is evaluated. Paired comparison testing will be conducted between the two arms.


A nutritionally standardized meal-delivery program for patients with cirrhosis and ascites post discharge has a variety of potential patient-based benefits, including the effective management of ascites, reduction of healthcare utilization and improvement of HRQOL. We have three core hypotheses. First, patients will report interest in and satisfaction with a home-delivered meals program. Second, subjects on a salt-restricted (2 g sodium) meal-delivery program will have fewer therapeutic paracenteses and all-cause readmissions than subjects receiving standard of care. Third, subjects on a salt-restricted (2 g sodium) meal-delivery program will report increased HRQOL compared to subjects receiving standard of care.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.