Early detection of changes in nutritional status is important for a better approach to the surgical patient. There are several nutritional measures in clinical practice, but there is not a complete method for determining the nutritional status, so, health professionals should only choose the best method to use.
To evaluate the total lymphocyte count and albumin as predictors of identification of nutritional risk in surgical patients.
Prospective longitudinal study was conducted with 69 patients undergoing surgery of the gastrointestinal tract. The assessment of nutritional status was evaluated by objective methods (anthropometry and biochemical tests) and subjective methods (subjective global assessment).
All parameters used in the nutritional assessment detected a high prevalence of malnutrition, with the exception of BMI which detected only 7.2% (n=5). The albumin (p=0.01), the total lymphocytes count (p=0.02), the percentage of adequacy of skinfolds (p<0.002) and the subjective global assessment (p<0.001) proved to be useful as predictors of risk of postoperative complications, since the smaller the values of albumin and lymphocyte count and higher the score the subjective global assessment were higher risks of surgical complications.
A high prevalence of malnutrition was found, except for BMI. The use of albumin and total lymphocyte count were good predictor for the risk of postoperative complications and when used with other methods of assessing the nutritional status, such as the subjective global assessment and the percentage of adequacy of skinfolds, can be useful for identification of nutritional risk and postoperative complications.
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