Research Update: Subjective Global Nutritional Assessment in critically ill children

This is the first study to evaluate if a subjective nutrition assessment method could identify malnutrition in the paediatric ICU (PICU) and predict nutrition-associated morbidities.

In Abbott Nutrition Information Centre this study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (September 2013) the researchers set out to validate the use of Subjective Global Nutritional Assessment (SGNA) in the paediatric critical care population. The SGNA, created for use in children, is a modified version of the Subjective Global Assessment which is intended for adults. Utilising the SGNA, the nutritional status of 150 children aged 31 days to 5 years admitted to the PICU was assessed by trained dietitians. Anthropometric and laboratory measurements were also obtained.

Based on the SGNA, 78.7% of the patients were found to be well-nourished while 16.7% and 4.7% were classified as moderately malnourished and severely malnourished respectively. Data analysis showed significant negative correlation between the SGNA groups and standard anthropometric measures such as mid-upper arm circumference, triceps skinfold and weight-for-height. Negative correlations mean that these measurements decreased with increased SGNA ratings or worsening malnutrition. There was however no association between SGNA and the biochemical markers i.e. absolute lymphocyte count and haemoglobin. Similarly, SGNA did not demonstrate a significant relationship with length-of-stay, paediatric logistic organ dysfunction (PELOD) scores and the Paediatric Risk of Mortality III (PRISM III) scores. While it was unable to show predictive validity with the outcome measures used in this study, the authors concluded that SGNA is a valid method for classifying the nutritional status of critically ill children upon admission to PICU.


Last updated on 21 Oct 2013

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