Low Daily Step Count Is Associated With a High Risk of Hospital Admission and Death in Community-Dwelling Patients With Cirrhosis

Background & Aims
Daily step count measures cardiorespiratory fitness and has been associated with clinical outcomes. However, its utility in patients with cirrhosis remains largely unexplored. We aimed to investigate the association between step count, frailty metrics, and clinical outcomes in cirrhosis.
All participants underwent frailty evaluation with the liver frailty index, 6-minute walk test, and gait speed test. To monitor step count, participants were given a personal activity tracker (PAT). A subset also was invited to use Exercise and Liver FITness (EL-FIT). Daily step counts from the first week of PAT use and frailty metrics were investigated as predictors of hospital admission and mortality.
There were 116 patients included (age, 56 ± 11 y; male, 55%; body mass index, 31 ± 7; model for end-stage liver disease-sodium, 15 ± 7). The main etiologies of cirrhosis were alcohol-related (33%) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (30%). Monitoring for the week was accomplished in 80% of participants given both PAT+EL-FIT vs 62% in those with PAT only (P = .04). During follow-up evaluation, hospital admission was observed in 55% and death in 15%. Kaplan–Meir curves showed increased readmission and deaths among patients performing in the lowest quartile (ie, <1200 steps/d). When adjusted by model for end-stage liver disease-sodium and EL-FIT use, the lowest quartile was associated with hospital admission and death (hazard ratio, HR [95% confidence interval], 1.90 [1.09–3.30] and 3.46 [1.23–9.68], respectively), along with the 6-minute walk test (HR, 0.63 [0.47–0.83] and 0.66 [0.44–0.99] per 100 m, respectively) and gait speed test (HR, 0.29 [0.11–0.72] and 0.21 [0.05–0.84], respectively).

Daily step count predicted hospital admission and mortality rates in patients with cirrhosis, similar to the current standard frailty metrics. Incorporation of a physical training–dedicated smartphone application was associated with increased PAT use and step reporting.