Nutritional risk is a clinical predictor of postoperative mortality and morbidity in surgery for colorectal cancer

Br J Surg. 2010 Jan;97(1):92-7. doi: 10.1002/bjs.6805.


Background: This study investigated whether nutritional risk scores applied at hospital admission predict mortality and complications after colorectal cancer surgery.

Methods: Some 186 patients were studied prospectively. Clinical details, Reilly's Nutrition Risk Score (NRS) and Nutritional Risk Screening 2002 (NRS-2002) score, tumour stage and surgical procedure were recorded.

Results: The prevalence of patients at nutritional risk was 31.7 per cent according to Reilly's NRS and 39.3 per cent based on the NRS-2002. Such patients had a higher mortality rate than those not at risk according to Reilly's NRS (8 versus 1.6 per cent; P = 0.033), but not the NRS-2002 (7 versus 1.8 per cent; P = 0.085). Based on the NRS-2002, there was a significant difference in postoperative complication rate between patients at nutritional risk and those not at risk (62 versus 39.8 per cent; P = 0.004) but not if Reilly's NRS was used (58 versus 44.1 per cent; P = 0.086). Nutritional risk was identified as an independent predictor of postoperative complications (odds ratio 2.79; P = 0.002).

Conclusion: Nutritional risk screening may be able to predict mortality and morbidity after surgery for colorectal cancer. However, the diverse results reflect either the imprecision of the tests or the small sample size.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Disorders / complications*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome