Efficacy and Safety of Endoscopic Balloon Placement for Weight Loss in Patients With Cirrhosis Awaiting Liver Transplantation

Kymberly D. Watt, Julie K. Heimbach, Monika Rizk, Pete Jaruvongvanich, William Sanchez, John Port, Sudhakar K. Venkatesh, Heather Bamlet, Kathryn Tiedtke, Harmeet Malhi, Andres Acosta Cardenas, Karen Grothe, Matthew Clark, Manpreet S. Mundi, Barham K. Abu Dayyeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The efficacy and safety of a fluid-filled intragastric balloon (IGB) for weight loss in patients with cirrhosis on the liver transplantation (LT) waiting list is unknown. We enrolled stable compensated patients with body mass index >35 kg/m2 and on the waiting list for IGB placement endoscopically for a maximum of 6 months. A total of 8 patients (7 men) aged mean ± SD, 56 ± 4.6 years with Model for End-Stage Liver Disease–sodium (MELD-Na) scores 14.1 ± 3.4 experienced weight reduction (146 ± 22.2 kg versus 127 ± 21.6 kg [P = 0.005] with IGB in place and 130 ± 24.6 kg [P = 0.014] at 6 months), with a total body weight loss of 12.2% ± 8.8% with IGBs in place and 10.9% ± 8.9% at 6 months. Body fat decreased from 48.6% ± 5.8% to 40.6% ± 6.4% (P = 0.001) and lean mass increased from 51.3% ± 6% to 59.4% ± 6.4% (P = 0.001). No change in MELD-Na scores occurred (P = 0.770). Early balloon retrieval was attributed to accommodative symptoms (n = 2) and liver decompensation (n = 1). Mallory Weiss tears (n = 3), but no portal hypertensive bleeding, occurred. Liver decompensation and/or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) developed in 3 patients. A total of 4 patients with LT ± sleeve gastrectomy maintained overall weight loss. Of 4 patients who did not receive transplants, 2 experienced weight regain. IGB results in short-term weight loss in patients with cirrhosis awaiting LT, with body fat loss without lean mass loss. Adverse effects were common. Decompensation and HCC did occur, with uncertainty of the relation to weight loss, and thus careful patient selection and close follow-up are required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1247
Number of pages9
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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