Nutritional indices

Several nutritional indices have been developed using mathematical and statistical methods to identify patients at risk of nutritionally mediated complications. These indices, selecting significant nutritional parameters, were designed and generally validated in specific groups of patients, usually cancerous or surgical. Thus their utilization cannot be extended to other types of patient.

The most widely studied is the prognostic nutritional index (PNI) which is calculated from multiple variables: PNI = 158 - 16.6(albumin) - 0.78(TST)-0.2(serum transferrin) - 5.8(DCH);

This equation correctly predicts the percentage risk of postoperative complications, particularly in populations with a high incidence of malnutrition. Adequate nutritional support in patients with a high PNI has been shown to improve postoperative outcome.

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