Assessment of preoperative and postoperative prealbumin in thoracic surgery – a two months experience in a Romanian university hospital / Evaluarea preoperatorie şi postoperatorie a prealbuminei în chirurgia toracică - experiența de 2 luni a unui spital universitar din România

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Malnutrition is a frequent and serious finding in surgical departments. Although its consequences include postoperative complications and higher costs, nutritional assessment is not part of the routine preoperative protocols. Nutritional assessment involves clinical and biological parameters and is vital in order to start treatment and improve outcome. Prealbumin is currently recognized as a faithful marker of malnutrition being introduced in practice guidelines. One of the most important aspects about prealbumin is the fact that its variations in time are more valuable than the absolute values. The aim of this study was to assess and compare the perioperative nutritional evolution of patients requiring thoracic surgery, with and without cancer, using prealbumin - preoperative and postoperative - as main marker. Thirty six patients from the Thoracic Surgery Department were assessed prior to surgery by body mass index, Subjective Global Assessment nutrition risk score and routine biochemical parameters. Prealbumin was assessed prior to surgery and 3 days after surgery. The age, length of postoperative stay and the presence was complications was noted. Patients with cancer (n=19) were significantly older than patients without cancer (p=0.007) and were more frequently, but not significantly, evaluated as malnourished through SGA (42.1% compared to 11.6%). Preoperative prealbumin and other parameters did not differ significantly between groups. However, there was a significant postoperative decrease in prealbumin only in patients with cancer. Therefore, prealbumin has been found to be valuable in assessing acute malnutrition in cancer patients, especially if variations are monitored in time, which could be useful in planning nutritional treatment

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