Assessment of nutritional status and nutrition impact symptoms in patients undergoing resection for upper gastrointestinal cancer: Results from the multi-centre nourish point prevalence study

The NOURISH Point Prevalence Study Group, Irene Deftereos*, Justin M.C. Yeung, Janan Arslan, Vanessa M. Carter, Elizabeth Isenring, Nicole Kiss

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
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    Background: Identification and treatment of malnutrition are essential in upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancer. However, there is limited understanding of the nutritional status of UGI cancer patients at the time of curative surgery. This prospective point prevalence study involving 27 Australian tertiary hospitals investigated nutritional status at the time of curative UGI cancer resection, as well as presence of preoperative nutrition impact symptoms, and associations with length of stay (LOS) and surgical complications. Methods: Subjective global assessment, hand grip strength (HGS) and weight were performed within 7 days of admission. Data on preoperative weight changes, nutrition impact symptoms, and dietary intake were collected using a purpose-built data collection tool. Surgical LOS and complications were also recorded. Multivariate regression models were developed for nutritional status, unintentional weight loss, LOS and complications. Results: This study included 200 patients undergoing oesophageal, gastric and pancreatic surgery. Malnutrition prevalence was 42% (95% confidence interval (CI) 35%, 49%), 49% lost ≥5% weight in 6 months, and 47% of those who completed HGS assessment had low muscle strength with no differences between surgical procedures (p = 0.864, p = 0.943, p = 0.075, respectively). The overall prevalence of reporting at least one preoperative nutrition impact symptom was 55%, with poor appetite (37%) and early satiety (23%) the most frequently reported. Age (odds ratio (OR) 4.1, 95% CI 1.5, 11.5, p = 0.008), unintentional weight loss of ≥5% in 6 months (OR 28.7, 95% CI 10.5, 78.6, p < 0.001), vomiting (OR 17.1, 95% CI 1.4, 207.8, 0.025), reduced food intake lasting 2–4 weeks (OR 7.4, 95% CI 1.3, 43.5, p = 0.026) and ≥1 month (OR 7.7, 95% CI 2.7, 22.0, p < 0.001) were independently associated with preoperative malnutrition. Factors independently associated with unintentional weight loss were poor appetite (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.6, 8.4, p = 0.002) and degree of solid food reduction of <75% (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.2, 9.2, p = 0.02) and <50% (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.5, 15.6, p = 0.008) of usual intake. Malnutrition (regression coefficient 3.6, 95% CI 0.1, 7.2, p = 0.048) and unintentional weight loss (regression coefficient 4.1, 95% CI 0.5, 7.6, p = 0.026) were independently associated with LOS, but no associations were found for complications. Conclusions: Despite increasing recognition of the importance of preoperative nutritional intervention, a high proportion of patients present with malnutrition or clinically significant weight loss, which are associated with increased LOS. Factors associated with malnutrition and weight loss should be incorporated into routine preoperative screening. Further investigation is required of current practice for dietetics interventions received prior to UGI surgery and if this mitigates the impact on clinical outcomes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3349
    Number of pages17
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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