Background Malnutrition is common in hospitalised patients with head and neck carcinoma.
Purpose The aim of this study was to analyse the causes of hospitalisation of patients with head and neck cancer and to evaluate the nutritional status; type and route of nutrition therapy during hospitalisation and at discharge.
Materials and Methods Retrospective study of patients with head and neck cancer, between October 2011 and March 2012 at 420-beds hospital.
We examined demographic data, cause of admission to hospital, type and location of tumour, nutritional status before admission and at discharge by CONUT® (system for early detection and monitoring of clinical undernutrition based on biochemical parametres and immune indicator) and type of nutritional therapy. We used the data source as medical record (IANUS®).
Results Were included 13 patients, with a mean age of 67 ± 13.5 (39–86). The location of tumour was 6 in oral cavity and 7 in oropharynx. The causes of admission was surgery (69.3%) and complications of neoplastic pathology base (39.7%); bleeding: 40%, dysphagia: 20% bronchoaspiration: 20%, oral mycosis: 20%.
According to the nutritional status before admission, were found 4 patients (30.7%) with mild malnutrition, 2 (15.3%) with moderately malnutrition, 1 (7.7%) with severe malnutrition and 6 patients with not available data. At discharge: 5 patients (38.5%) with mild malnutrition, 7 patients with not available data and one patient died during the period.
During the admission period, all the patients received oral feeding, 6 patients received enteral nutrition (EN) by gastrostomy tube. At discharge, 61.5% of patients received oral diet and the 7.7% of them needed energy supplementation. The remaining 30.8% needed to continue with EN.
Conclusions The risk of malnutrition in patients with head and neck cancer is high.
Individualized nutritional support in these patients is necessary to prevent weight loss.
In the absence of parameters to perform an adequate nutritional assessment, we need greater involvement by hospital physicians with the clinical nutrition unit.
No conflict of interest.
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