The role of visceral protein markers in protein calorie malnutrition

Linda Brugler, Ana Stankovic, Larry Bernstein, Frederick Scott, Julie O'Sullivan-Maillet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Despite substantial evidence of the crucial role protein calorie malnutrition (PCM) plays in the occurrence of complications, increased length of stay, and cost of care in hospitalized populations, no standard approach for screening and monitoring the nutritional status of patients initially and throughout admission currently exists. Recognizing that there is a growing public and professional recognition of the importance of malnutrition, a large patient population (30-55%) at risk for PCM, and an even larger population experiencing declining nutritional status during hospitalization, this study examined the feasibility of a full-scale study to assess the value of two biochemical markers, transthyretin and albumin, for detecting and monitoring PCM in hospitalized patients. It was demonstrated that these two markers do provide important information predictive of outcomes for those they identify at risk for PCM. The patients who entered the study with or developed low transthyretin and albumin experienced poorer health outcomes and higher costs of care. Their discharge occurred in an early phase of recovery, with significant implications for after-discharge care. The full-scale study must consider severity of illness and other confounders during randomization and, preferably, be conducted in institutions that currently do not use transthyretin for nutrition assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1360-1369
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


  • Albumin
  • Economic implications
  • Health care costs
  • Health outcomes
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Prealbumin
  • Protein calorie malnutrition
  • Transthyretin


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