Nutrition in Surgery

Nutrition is a vital aspect of the overall management of patients going to surgery.  Patient who are malnourished or undernourished fare worse following surgery with an increased risk of suffering complications from surgery, including delayed recovery from surgery.

The American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) and the European Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism recommend that patients undergoing surgery be screened for malnutrition in order to quickly identify patients who will require nutrition support before and or after surgery.  Guidelines from both professional societies recommend the following:

  • Screen and monitor nutritional status of patients before and after surgery
  • Delay elective surgery in malnourished patients until nutrition status is optimized by providing nutrition support using either or a combination of oral nutrition supplements, enteral nutrition or parenteral nutrition
  • Avoid overnight fasting in patients undergoing surgery and allow solid foods up to 6 hours before surgery
  • Allow patients undergoing surgery to drink clear carbohydrate-rich fluids up to 2 hours before surgery
  • Re-initiate feeding including clear fluids within hours after surgery in most patients
  • Initiate nutrition support (preferably enteral nutrition), if it is anticipated that the patient will be unable to eat for more than five days in the period before or after the surgery.

Learn More

Download and Read Article: Pre-operative Fasting and Post-operative Feeding: The Old and New Paradigm

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