Emerging Impact of Malnutrition on Surgical Patients: Literature Review and Potential Implications for Cystectomy in Bladder Cancer

Academic Article


  • Purpose Malnutrition is emerging as a significant factor in patient outcomes. A contemporary review of malnutrition has not been performed for the urologist. We review the available literature and current standards of care for malnutrition screening, assessment and intervention, focusing on patients with bladder cancer treated with cystectomy. Materials and Methods Our multidisciplinary team searched PubMed® for available literature on malnutrition, focusing on definition and significance, importance to urologists, screening, assessment, diagnosis, immunological and economic impacts, and interventions. Results The prevalence of malnutrition in hospitalized patients is estimated to range from 15% to 60%, reaching upward of 71% in those with cancer. Malnutrition has been shown to increase inflammatory markers, further intensifying catabolism and weight loss. Bladder cancer is catabolic and patients undergoing cystectomy have increased resting energy expenditure postoperatively. Data are emerging on the impact of malnutrition in the cystectomy population. Recent studies have identified poor nutritional status based on low albumin or sarcopenia (loss of muscle) as having an adverse impact on length of hospitalization, complications and survival. The current standard of care malnutrition assessment tool, the 2012 consensus statement of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, has not been evaluated in the urological literature. Perioperative immunonutrition in patients undergoing colorectal surgery has been associated with significant decreases in postoperative complications, and recent pilot work has identified the potential for immunonutrition to positively impact the cystectomy population. Conclusions Malnutrition has a significant impact on surgical patients, including those with bladder cancer. There are emerging data in the urological literature regarding how best to identify and improve the nutritional status of patients undergoing cystectomy. Additional research is needed to identify malnutrition in these patients and interventions to improve surgical outcomes.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tobert CM; Hamilton-Reeves JM; Norian LA; Hung C; Brooks NA; Holzbeierlein JM; Downs TM; Robertson DP; Grossman R; Nepple KG
  • Start Page

  • 511
  • End Page

  • 519
  • Volume

  • 198
  • Issue

  • 3