Silva Cavalcanti, Rafaella de Andrade; AraÃºjo Burgos, Maria Goretti Pessoa; Maio, Regiane
Introduction: Weight loss, especially the loss of lean mass, and anemia are common in patients with gastrointestinal tumors and systemic inflammation is considered an aggravating factor.
Objective: Investigate the nutritional status, occurrence of anemia and inflammatory activity in patients with gastrointestinal tumors in the preoperative phase.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in northeastern Brazil involving patients with gastrointestinal tumors with no previous treatment. Evaluations involved anthropometrics, biochemical blood analysis and a subjective nutritional assessment (patient’s opinion).
Results and discussion: The prevalence of undernutrition was high based on the subjective nutritional assessment (97.9%), percentage weight loss (97.9%), triceps skin fold (83.3%), arm circumference (72.9%) and arm muscle circumference (64.6%). A significant reduction between the habitual and current body mass index was found in the entire sample of adults and elderly individuals (p < 0.001). Albumin and transferrin were below normal in 97.9% of the sample and C-reactive protein was high in all patients. A large portion of the sample exhibited normochromic normocytic anemia (45.8%) and the majority exhibited immune depletion based on total lymphocyte count (72.9%). The percentage weight loss was significantly associated with the time since the onset of symptoms (r = 0.574; p < 0.001).
Conclusion: High prevalence rates of anemia, undernutrition and systemic inflammation were found in patients with gastrointestinal tumors. The onset of symptoms occurred long before the diagnosis, which underscores the need for nutritional intervention as soon as gastrointestinal disorders arise in order to minimize complications in the postoperative period.