Measurements of resting energy expenditure (REE) can be used to determine energy requirements. Prediction formulae can be used to estimate REE but have not been validated in cirrhotic patients. REE was measured, by indirect calorimetry, in 100 cirrhotic patients and 41 comparable healthy volunteers, and the results compared with estimates predicted using the Harris-Benedict, Schofield, Mifflin, Cunningham, and Owen formulae, and the disease-specific Müller formula. The mean (± 1 SD) measured REE in the healthy volunteers (1,590 ± 306 kcal/24 h) was significantly greater than the mean Harris-Benedict, Mifflin, Cunningham, and Owen predictions but comparable with the mean Schofield prediction; individual predicted values varied widely from measured values (95% limits of agreement, −460 to +424 kcal). The mean measured REE in the cirrhotic patients was significantly greater than in the healthy volunteers (23.2 ± 3.8 cf 21.9 ± 2.9 kcal/kg/24 h; P < .05). The mean measured REE in the cirrhotic patients (1,660 ± 337 kcal/24 h) was significantly different from mean predicted values (Harris-Benedict, 1,532 ± 252 kcal/24 h,P< .0001; Schofield, 1,575 ± 254 kcal/24 h,P< .0005; Mifflin, 1,460 ± 254 kcal/24 h,P< .0001; Cunningham, 1,713 ± 252 kcal/24 h,P< .05; Owen, 1,521 ± 281 kcal/24 h,P< .0001; Müller, 1,783 ± 204 kcal/24 h,P< .0001); individual predicted values varied widely from measured values (95% limits of agreement, −632 to +573 kcal). Simple regression analysis showed that fat-free mass (FFM) was the strongest predictor of measured REE in the cirrhotic patients, accounting for 52% of the variation observed. However, a population-specific prediction equation, derived using stepwise regression analysis, which incorporated FFM, age, and Pugh's score, accounted for only 61% of the observed variation in measured REE. REE should, therefore, be measured in cirrhotic patients, not predicted.