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Malnutrition Ups Risk of Elective Spine Surgery Complications

Posted on Mon, Sep 08, 2014
Malnutrition Ups Risk of Elective Spine Surgery Complications

Pre-op serum albumin level is independent risk factor for complications post-elective surgery

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Preoperative hypoalbuminemia, as a marker for malnutrition, is an independent risk factor for postoperative complications after elective spine surgery for degenerative and deformity causes, according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of Spine.

Owoicho Adogwa, M.D., M.P.H., from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 136 consecutive patients undergoing spine fusion at the institution. Preoperative serum albumin level was measured and utilized to quantify nutritional status (albumin <3.5 g/dL was recognized as hypoalbuminemia or malnourished).

The researchers found that 29.4 percent of patients experienced at least one postoperative complication. Malnourished patients undergoing elective surgery had more complications (35.7 percent, versus 11.7 percent in nourished patients; P = 0.03), whereas similar complication rates were seen for malnourished and nourished patients undergoing nonelective surgery (46.5 and 42.1 percent, respectively; P = 0.75). Preoperative serum albumin level was a significant predictor of postoperative complications for patients undergoing elective spinal surgery (odds ratio, 4.21; P = 0.04; adjusted odds ratio, 4.54; P = 0.04).

"Preoperative hypoalbuminemia is an independent risk factor for postoperative complications after elective spinal surgery for degenerative and deformity causes, and should be used more frequently as a prognostic tool to detect malnutrition and risk of adverse surgical outcomes," the authors write.

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