Preoperative albumin and surgical site identify surgical risk for major postoperative complications

Kenneth A. Kudsk, Elizabeth Tolley, R. Chance DeWitt, Peter G. Janu, Ashley P. Blackwell, Stephanie Yeary, Brock K. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

198 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Although malnutrition contributes to morbidity, studies of pre- and postoperative nutrition often include well-nourished patients unlikely to benefit from therapy and usually do not stratify by the site of surgical pathology. This study evaluates whether perceived preoperative markers of nutritional status recorded in charts correlates with postoperative complications and resource use in patients who receive no preoperative nutrition support and reinterprets the results of several conflicting randomized, prospective studies in this context. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of 526 surgical patients who had preoperative serum albumin levels measured and were undergoing elective esophageal, gastric, pancreaticoduodenal, or colon surgery between 1992 and 1996 who could have received preoperative nutrition but did not. Results: Most medical records contained inadequate analysis of preoperative nutritional status, but preoperative albumin correlated inversely with complications, length of stay, postoperative stay, intensive care unit (ICU) stay, mortality, and resumption of oral intake. Patients undergoing esophageal or pancreatic procedures sustained a significantly higher complication rate at most albumin levels, whereas colonic surgery resulted in lower complication rates at the same albumin levels. Resource use (eg, length of stay and ICU stay) related to these complication rates; esophageal and pancreatic procedures used the most resources and colon procedures used the fewest at most albumin levels. This lack of appreciation for nutritional risk and operative site can explain discrepancies in outcome noted in several randomized, prospective nutritional studies and must be applied to the design and implementation of new studies. Conclusions: Elective, non-emergent esophageal and pancreatic procedures performed in patients who could have had surgery delayed for preoperative nutrition, but did not, result in higher risk than colon surgery at any given level of serum albumin below 3.25 g/dL. Patient populations in trials should be stratified by operative site and by markers of nutritional status. Degree of hypoalbuminemia and other potential markers of nutritional status may explain many of the discrepancies between trials of nutrition support. Preexisting hypoalbuminemia in patients undergoing elective surgery remains underappreciated, unrecognized, and untreated in many hospitalized patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

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Albumins
Nutritional Status
Hypoalbuminemia
Colon
Serum Albumin
Intensive Care Units
Length of Stay
Prospective Studies
Surgical Pathology
Malnutrition
Medical Records
Stomach
Cohort Studies
Retrospective Studies
Morbidity
Mortality
Population

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Preoperative albumin and surgical site identify surgical risk for major postoperative complications. / Kudsk, Kenneth A.; Tolley, Elizabeth; DeWitt, R. Chance; Janu, Peter G.; Blackwell, Ashley P.; Yeary, Stephanie; King, Brock K.

In: Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Vol. 27, No. 1, 01.01.2003, p. 1-9.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kudsk, Kenneth A. ; Tolley, Elizabeth ; DeWitt, R. Chance ; Janu, Peter G. ; Blackwell, Ashley P. ; Yeary, Stephanie ; King, Brock K. / Preoperative albumin and surgical site identify surgical risk for major postoperative complications. In: Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 2003 ; Vol. 27, No. 1. pp. 1-9.
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