Nutritional Support and the Surgical Patient

Yvonne Huckleberry


Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2004;61(7) 

In This Article

Body Weight and Weight History

An evaluation of body weight and recent weight change is a component of almost all nutritional assessment tools. The current body weight is often compared with the ideal body weight (IBW) for height in order to roughly estimate the patient's body habitus versus norms. Selected methods used to calculate IBW are provided in Table . Current weight is also evaluated in relation to the patient's usual body weight. When evaluating this difference, it is important to consider changes in fluid status that may be influencing either weight. True weight loss greater than 10% of body weight within six months or 5% within one month is considered significant and has been associated with an increased risk of postsurgical mortality.[27,35] Weight statuses suggesting mild, moderate, and severe malnutrition are listed in Table 1 .

Body mass index (BMI) may also be used to assess nutritional status. This weight-stature index is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Although there is no consensus on how to interpret BMI in relation to nutritional status, a BMI of <15 kg/m2 has been associated with significant increases in morbidity and mortality.[30,31] A general interpretation of BMI is provided in Table 1 .


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