Short-Term Pre-Operative Protein Caloric Restriction in Elective Vascular Surgery Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Nutrients. 2021 Nov 11;13(11):4024. doi: 10.3390/nu13114024.


(1) Background: Vascular surgery operations are hampered by high failure rates and frequent occurrence of peri-operative cardiovascular complications. In pre-clinical studies, pre-operative restriction of proteins and/or calories (PCR) has been shown to limit ischemia-reperfusion damage, slow intimal hyperplasia, and improve metabolic fitness. However, whether these dietary regimens are feasible and safe in the vascular surgery patient population remains unknown. (2) Methods: We performed a randomized controlled trial in patients scheduled for any elective open vascular procedure. Participants were randomized in a 3:2 ratio to either four days of outpatient pre-operative PCR (30% calorie, 70% protein restriction) or their regular ad-libitum diet. Blood was drawn at baseline, pre-operative, and post-operative day 1 timepoints. A leukocyte subset flow cytometry panel was performed at these timepoints. Subcutaneous/perivascular adipose tissue was sampled and analyzed. Follow-up was one year post-op. (3) Results: 19 patients were enrolled, of whom 11 completed the study. No diet-related reasons for non-completion were reported, and there was no intervention group crossover. The PCR diet induced weight loss and BMI decrease without malnutrition. Insulin sensitivity was improved after four days of PCR (p = 0.05). Between diet groups, there were similar rates of re-intervention, wound infection, and cardiovascular complications. Leukocyte populations were maintained after four days of PCR. (4) Conclusions: Pre-operative PCR is safe and feasible in elective vascular surgery patients.

Keywords: dietary restriction; metabolic fitness; vascular surgery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Cytokines
  • Diet
  • Diet Therapy
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Glucose
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Weight Loss


  • Cytokines
  • Proteins
  • Glucose