Malnutrition increases the risk of 30-day complications after surgery in pediatric patients with Crohn disease

Mitchell R. Ladd, Alejandro V. Garcia, Ira L. Leeds, Courtney Haney, Maria M. Oliva-Hemker, Samuel Alaish, Emily Boss, Daniel S. Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Pediatric patients with Crohn disease (CD) are frequently malnourished, yet how this affects surgical outcomes has not been evaluated. This study aims to determine the effects of malnourishment in children with CD on 30-day outcomes after surgery. Study design: The ACS NSQIP-Pediatric database from 2012 to 2015 was used to select children aged 5–18 with CD who underwent bowel surgery. BMI-for-age Z-scores were calculated based on CDC growth charts and 2015 guidelines of pediatric malnutrition were applied to categorize severity of malnutrition into none, mild, moderate, or severe. Malnutrition's effects on 30-day complications. Propensity weighted multivariable regression was used to determine the effect of malnutrition on complications were evaluated. Results: 516 patients were included: 349 (67.6%) without malnutrition, 97 (18.8%) with mild, 49 (9.5%) with moderate, and 21 (4.1%) with severe malnutrition. There were no differences in demographics, ASA class, or elective/urgent case type. Overall complication rate was 13.6% with malnutrition correlating to higher rates: none 9.7%, mild 18.6%, moderate 20.4%, and severe 28.6% (p < 0.01). In propensity-matched, multivariable analysis, malnutrition corresponded with increased odds of complications in mild and severely malnourished patients (mild OR = 2.1 [p = 0.04], severe OR 3.26 [p = 0.03]). Conclusion: Worsening degrees of malnutrition directly correlate with increasing risk of 30-day complications in children with CD undergoing major bowel surgery. These findings support BMI for-age z scores as an important screening tool for preoperatively identifying pediatric CD patients at increased risk for postoperative complications. Moreover, these scores can guide nutritional optimization efforts prior to elective surgery. Level of Evidence: IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2336-2345
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Nutrition
  • Pediatric Crohn disease
  • Surgery outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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