Background/aim: A previous study in our unit showed an inadequate dietary intake of fat-soluble vitamins and energy after pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD). This study was designed to determine whether deficiencies in dietary intake of micronutrients lead to nutritional deficiencies and to examine the impact of dietary advice on nutrition, bowel function, and quality of life.
Methods: Ten patients who had undergone PD for malignant disease more than 6 months previously were studied at baseline and follow-up 8 weeks apart. Dietary intakes of energy, fat, and micronutrients were assessed by analysis of weighed food diaries, and serum vitamins and trace elements were measured at each visit. Quality of life questionnaires (EORTC QLQ30 and PAN 26) were answered, and a clinical assessment of the bowel function was made. Targeted dietary intervention was given, where indicated, and its impact on the study parameters was assessed at the second clinic visit.
Results: The patients were generally well nourished. Dietary deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins were detected (vitamin A, n = 2; vitamin D, n = 10; vitamin E, n = 2), but these correlated with serum deficiency only for vitamin A. The selenium intake was borderline or insufficient in 6 patients' diet, with serum deficiencies in 4. Despite normal intakes of iron and zinc, half the patients showed serum deficiency. The bowel function was an important factor in quality of life, and symptoms improved in 3 patients with enzyme supplements and antidiarrhoeal medication.
Conclusions: PD patients appear to be prone to a predictable set of micronutrient deficiencies that may be compounded by insufficient dietary intake. The bowel function is important to these patients, and it should be optimized with aggressive enzyme replacement. Dietary intervention appears to make little short-term impact in the areas studied.
Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel and IAP