Nutritional screening in surgical patients of a teaching hospital from Southern Brazil: the impact of nutritional risk in clinical outcomes
To assess the prevalence of nutritional risk in surgical patients of a teaching hospital and its associated factors.
A cross-sectional study with secondary data of surgical ward patients of the Hospital Escola da Universidade Federal de Pelotas, from April to October, 2010. Patients were evaluated up to 36 hours after admission using the Malnutrition Screening Tool.
The study included 565 patients, with a mean age of 52.8±15.6 years, and the majority (51%) was female. More than 30% of the patients presented with an average or high nutritional risk, and 7% of them were at high risk. Associated with the greater risk were aging, cancer surgery, and mortality. The length of hospital stay showed a linear increase according to nutritional risk.
The Malnutrition Screening Tool is a simple and effective tool for nutritional screening that does not require anthropometric measurements. In this study, average or high nutritional risk was prevalent in one third of the sample, and was related to increased mortality, hospital stay, cancer, and aging. Nutritional care outpatients´ protocols could be used prior to elective surgery to reduce the nutritional risk of these patients, improving clinical outcomes and reducing length and costs of hospital stay.