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Keeping Up with the Medical Nutrition Therapy for Liver Disease

11 Nov 2021

Discussions about liver disease has recently gained traction among clinicians, especially with the release of new international clinical guidelines in 2019 and 2020. Considering how a quarter of our population are diagnosed with fatty liver, the Malaysian Society of Gastroenterology & Hepatology has also been championing metabolic profile assessment and referrals for lifestyle interventions.

However, local conversations on the medical nutrition therapy for liver disease have been largely silent for the past 5 years. It was this identified gap that IMU’s Nutrition and Dietetics Division sought to fill with their first ever virtual seminar-workshop.

On 14 October 2021, IMU Nutrition & Dietetics Centre for Transformative Nutrition and Health (CTNH), along with ICL presented ‘Nutrition Management of Liver Disease: Updates and Current Practices’. The Continuous Professional Development (CPD) event spanned half a day and attracted 81 attendees from across Malaysia, many of whom were clinical dietitians. In addition to shedding light on the most current nutrition management, this seminar-workshop aimed to create awareness and help dietitians understand the preferred medical approaches to the diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care in liver disease.

Speakers for this event comprised of local and international experts. They included
Prof Dato’ Dr (Mrs) Kew Siang Tong International Medical University (IMU) Prof Dato’ Dr (Mrs) Kew Siang Tong provided a medical overview – covering the risk factors, aetiology, clinical evaluation, features, and management – on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver cirrhosis.
Dr Elena George Specialist dietitian and lecturer from Deakin University Dr Elena George presented on the nutrition management, dietary patterns, and components for the management of NAFLD and cirrhosis
Aishah Hanum Said Dietitian from Selayang Hospital Aishah Hanum Said rounded up the lectures whilst offering a local-setting perspective by sharing her experience in managing inpatients and outpatients with liver disease

“(I have learnt) how to better manage NAFLD, NASH and liver cirrhosis patients nutritionally and holistically. It was a thorough and specific course…learned new knowledge to reinforce current practice.”  – Review by an attendee

This inaugural seminar-workshop received positive reviews for its overall setup and conveyance. Despite the virtual setting, all attendees agreed that the class environment was still conducive towards their learning. According to the feedback as well, the interactive components incorporated into the CPD has also kept them well-engaged. One of the tools employed by the CPD committee for this intention was the usage of a shared platform where all attendees could confidently interact to discuss two real-life case scenarios with expert input from Dr Elena George and Aishah Hanum.

One of the feedback on what (attendees) liked about the seminar-workshop
“(I liked) the interactive and interesting way of approaching case studies in webinar setting.”

The objectives of this seminar-workshop were well-met as 95% of the attendees rated the CPD highly for exposing new knowledge and practices to them. They appreciated the inclusion of different healthcare perspectives that ultimately contribute to overall patient care. More than 95% of the attendees would also recommend this course to others, commenting that this seminar-workshop has not only shared up-to-date information on interesting liver disease topics and practical suggestions, but also allowed them to see the nutrition management practices of another country.

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