Impact of patients nutritional status on major surgery outcome

E. V. Mignini, E. Scarpellini, Emidio Scarpellini, Emanuele Rinninella, E. Lattanzi, Edoardo Lattanzi, M. V. Valeri, N. Clementi, L. Abenavoli, Ludovico Montebianco Abenavoli, Antonio Gasbarrini, C. Rasetti*, P. Santori

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract. – OBJECTIVE: Surgery is a major stress factor that activates several inflammatory and catabolic pathways in man. An appropriate nutritional status allows the body to react properly to this stressor and recover in a faster and more efficient manner. On the other hand, malnutrition is related to a worse surgery outcome and to a higher prevalence of comorbidities and mortality. The aims of this study were to evaluate the nutritional status of patients undergoing major surgery and investigate the potential correlation between malnutrition and surgical outcomes. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) and global clinical examination (including biochemical parameters and comorbidities existence) were undertaken in 50 consecutive patients undergoing major surgery. Patients’ clinical conditions were re-evaluated at 3 and 6 days after surgery, recording biochemical parameters and systemic and/or wound-related complications. RESULTS: A compromised nutritional status was present in more than half (54%) of patients (malnutrition in 10% and risk of malnutrition in 44% of patients, respectively). Females were slightly more at risk of malnutrition (48% vs. 41%, p=NS, females vs. males) and clearly malnourished (14% vs. 7%, p<0.05, females vs. males). Age was an independent risk factor for malnutrition and within the elders’ group (> 80 years old) 16.70% of patients was diagnosed with malnutrition and 58.3% was at risk of malnutrition. Systemic complications were registered in all patients both at 3 and 6 days after surgery. However, well-nourished and at-risk of malnutrition patients had earlier complications that only partially resolved within six days after the operation. Malnourished patients showed fewer complications at the 3rd post-surgery follow-up day but had a worse outcome six days after surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Older age and but not female sex are independent risk factors for malnutrition development in patients undergoing major surgery. More interestingly, more than half of patients with an impaired nutritional status presented a less appropriated stress response to surgery. These data suggest that nutritional status assessment may be important to recognize patients at potential risk of surgical complications and that early nutritional interventions must be promptly arranged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3524-3533
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • nutritional status, malnutrition


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