Nutritional Monitoring

There are a variety of ways to monitor nutritional status in the burn patient; body weight, nutritional intake, nitrogen balance, and laboratory indices all play a role in nutritional assessment. A scheme for continuing nutritional assessment is given in Table 6.

Success of the chosen nutrition plan must be monitored and the plan adjusted accordingly. Energy expenditure and nitrogen losses should be measured once or twice weekly for calorie and nitrogen balance calculations. The choice of additional biochemical markers to assess overall nutritional state is difficult and no one marker adequately predicts actual nutritional state at all times during the course of injury. The constitutively produced prealbumin, with its short half-life and independence from exogenous albumin administration, is often used.

Pediatric patients often exhibit growth delays and special attention must be paid to younger children who are less than their ideal body weight at the time of injury. Nutritional support is often required for many weeks after discharge from hospital, and outpatient follow-up of growth in children is essential.

See also: Amino Acids: Metabolism. Cytokines. Nutritional Support: Adults, Enteral.

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