Better nutritional status reduces complications following surgery for bladder cancer, according to a new study.
Those patients found to have a biomarker indicating poor nutritional status prior to a radical cystectomy are twice as likely to experience post-op complications as those without.
Examining nutritional status
These findings were presented at the 2013 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons by researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill. They identified a potentially modifiable risk factor for such postsurgical problems: a low preoperative level of albumin, a marker of the protein level in the blood.
A radical cystectomy involves surgical removal of the bladder and lymph nodes and is standard treatment for a third of all bladder cancer patients. As many as 73,000 in the U.S. will be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year.
Researchers did a retroactive analysis of almost 1,100 patients who had a radical cystectomy between 2005 and 2011, evaluating their nutritional status with the biomarker and looking at their rate of complications 30 days following the procedure.
Said David C. Johnson, M.D., MPH, lead author of the study and a third-year urology resident at UNC School of Medicine:
Poor nutrition is a known risk factor for adverse results after radical cystectomy. The prevalence of nutritional deficiency is very high in patients with bladder cancer, partly because of their disease and partly because of their advanced age – 73 years on average.
Study co-author Angela Smith, M.D., an assistant professor of urology at UNC, added:
There's very little risk in improving nutritional status before the operation and significant possible benefits.
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