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Nutritional status is an important factor for predicting the risk of developing complications after a surgical procedure. Many nutritional assessments are used in clinical practice, but their role in predicting postoperative outcomes is unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the utility of nutritional risk factors at the diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) for predicting early postsurgical complications.
This was a prospective observational study including 127 patients with CRC at diagnosis. Their preoperative nutritional status was analyzed by body mass index (BMI), triceps and subscapular skinfolds and two nutritional scales: the Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment (PG-SGA) and the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST). The outcome variables, including postoperative complications, length of hospital stay and mortality, were analyzed.
Patients identified as malnourished by PG-SGA score had prolonged hospital stays (p = 0.01). The risk of infection was increased in older patients (hazard ratio, HR 1.12; 95% confidence interval, CI 1.04–1.21) but was not associated with nutritional status. Early wound dehiscence was increased in patients with higher BMI (HR 1.15; 95% CI 1.01–1.29), with higher subscapular skinfold thickness and increased age (HR 1.05; 95% CI 1.05–1.10). Postoperative mortality was not significantly associated with nutritional status.
Malnourished patients, as identified by the PG-SGA score, stayed longer in hospital than patients who were not malnourished, while increased BMI was recognized as a risk factor for wound dehiscence.