Nutritional Support and the Surgical Patient

Yvonne Huckleberry


Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2004;61(7) 

In This Article

Nutritional Assessment

Nutritional assessment has been defined as a comprehensive approach to defining nutritional status that uses medical, nutritional, and medication histories; physical examination; anthropometric measurements; laboratory data; and professional judgment.[27] The ideal set of variables for nutritional assessment that may correlate with patient outcomes has not been identified. A comprehensive nutritional assessment would include evaluation of the patient's history of eating patterns, dietary restrictions, weight changes, and any influences on nutrient intake or absorption; physical assessment for body composition, fluid status, and signs and symptoms of nutritional deficiencies; biochemical tests, such as for albumin, prealbumin, and transferrin; and analysis of body composition, grip strength, and delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity.[28,29,30,31] However, many of these measurements (e.g., albumin, grip strength) are not reliable or practical after major surgery. The following discussion of nutritional assessment is limited to those aspects that are commonly performed in the acute care setting.


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