Review of nutritional assessment and clinical outcomes in pediatric surgical patients: Does preoperative nutritional assessment impact clinical outcomes?

Scott Wessner, Sathyaprasad Burjonrappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Introduction Malnourished adult patients who undergo surgical procedures tend to have worse clinical outcomes compared to well-nourished patients. In the pediatric surgical patient, nutritional assessment is considered a critical aspect of the initial evaluation, but a correlation between preoperative malnutrition and poor surgical outcomes is not clear. We hypothesized that an evidence-based review would reveal that measures of nutritional assessment in children would not correlate pre-operative malnutrition with poor surgical outcomes. Materials and Methods A search of major English language medical databases (Medline, Cochrane, SCOPUS) was conducted for the key words nutritional assessment, pediatric, children, surgery, and outcomes. All methods of nutritional assessment in pediatric surgery were evaluated for their relevance and relation to outcomes after surgery. The Oxford Center for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) classification for levels of evidence was used to develop grades of clinical recommendation for each variable studied. Results 35 articles were evaluated after an exhaustive literature search, of which six met inclusion criteria for this review. There is a paucity of high quality evidence correlating preoperative malnutrition in pediatric surgical patients with clinical outcomes. Factors contributing to the low level of evidence include a lack of high quality randomized controlled trials, a lack of consensus in study design and methods, and utilization of incongruous methods of nutritional assessment, including methods that may be unproven in the study population. Conclusion Larger multi center randomized studies are needed to offer higher level of evidence to support nutritional intervention prior to major elective pediatric surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-830
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014



  • Anthropometry
  • Nutritional Assessment
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surgical Outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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