Malnutrition Increases Complication Risk in Elective Spine Surgery

Malnutrition Increases Complication Risk in Elective Spine Surgery
Malnutrition Increases Complication Risk in Elective Spine Surgery

(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 August 15 issue of Spine.

Owoicho Adogwa, MD, MPH, from Duke University in Durham, NC, 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 <3.5g/dL was recognized as hypoalbuminemia or malnourished).

The researchers found that 29.4% of patients experienced at least one postoperative complication. Malnourished patients undergoing elective surgery had more complications (35.7%, vs. 11.7% 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%, 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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