The malnourished surgery patient: a silent epidemic in perioperative outcomes?

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: As many as two of every three major surgery patients are malnourished preoperatively - a diagnosis rarely made and treated even less frequently. Unfortunately, perioperative malnutrition is perhaps the least often identified surgical risk factor and is among the most treatable to improve outcomes. RECENT FINDINGS: Two important perioperative nutrition guidelines were published recently. Both emphasize nutrition assessment as an essential component of preoperative screening. The recently published perioperative nutrition screen (PONS) readily identifies patients at malnutrition risk, allowing for preoperative nutritional optimization. The use of computerized tomography scan and ultrasound lean body mass (LBM) evaluation to identify sarcopenia associated with surgical risk and guide nutrition intervention is garnering further support. Preoperative nutrition optimization in malnourished patients, use of immunonutrition in all major surgery, avoidance of preoperative fasting, inclusion of postoperative high-protein nutritional supplements, and early postoperative oral intake have all recently been shown to improve outcomes and should be utilized. SUMMARY: The recent publication of new surgical nutrition guidelines, the PONS score, and use of LBM assessments will allow better identification and earlier intervention on perioperative malnutrition. It is essential that in the future no patient undergoes elective surgery without nutrition screening and nutrition intervention when malnutrition risk is identified.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Williams, DGA; Molinger, J; Wischmeyer, PE

Published Date

  • June 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 405 - 411

PubMed ID

  • 30893119

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6760866

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1473-6500

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000722


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States