Background: While there has been a great deal of literature describing the relationship between nutritional status and development of pressure ulcers, statistically rigorous studies analyzing the relationship between hypoalbuminemia and outcomes are lacking. Methods: The American College of Surgeons' multicenter, prospective, National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was used to identify patients who underwent surgery for treatment of pressure ulcers between 2006 and 2011. Matched propensity-score analysis was performed to match experimental groups with regard to preoperative comorbidities. Outcomes of interest included overall/surgical/medical complications and 30-day mortality. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the independent association between hypoalbuminemia and outcomes. Results: Over the 6-year study period, 551 patients met criteria for study inclusion. Median albumin level was 2.8 g/dL. Before propensity matching, multiple adverse outcomes were significantly elevated in patients with albumin levels below the median value (very-low albumin, or VLA), compared to control patients. However, after matching preoperative comorbidities, the differences in 30-day outcomes were eliminated. In both analyses, there was no significant difference in 30-day surgical complications. Conclusions: It is generally understood that hypoalbuminemic patients have elevated risks for surgical procedures. In pressure ulcer patients, it appears that these risks are not due to hypoalbuminemia alone, but rather a long list of attendant comorbidities. Consequently, hypoalbuminemia alone should not be used to determine the timing of a procedure for pressure ulcer surgery. Knowledge of these risks is necessary for patient counseling and surgical planning in this population.
- Pressure ulcer
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