The pancreas is a major player in nutrient digestion. In chronic pancreatitis both exocrine and endocrine insufficiency may develop leading to malnutrition over time. Maldigestion is often a late complication of chronic pancreatic and depends on the severity of the underlying disease. The severity of malnutrition is correlated with two major factors: (1) malabsorption and depletion of nutrients (e.g., alcoholism and pain) causes impaired nutritional status; and (2) increased metabolic activity due to the severity of the disease. Nutritional deficiencies negatively affect outcome if they are not treated. Nutritional assessment and the clinical severity of the disease are important for planning any nutritional intervention. Good nutritional practice includes screening to identify patients at risk, followed by a thoroughly nutritional assessment and nutrition plan for risk patients. Treatment should be multidisciplinary and the mainstay of treatment is abstinence from alcohol, pain treatment, dietary modifications and pancreatic enzyme supplementation. To achieve energy-end protein requirements, oral supplementation might be beneficial. Enteral nutrition may be used when patients do not have sufficient calorie intake as in pylero-duodenal-stenosis, inflammation or prior to surgery and can be necessary if weight loss continues. Parenteral nutrition is very seldom used in patients with chronic pancreatitis and should only be used in case of GI-tract obstruction or as a supplement to enteral nutrition.
Both AIF and CIF are relatively rare conditions and most of the published work presents evidence from small, single-centre studies. Much remains to be investigated to improve the diagnosis and management of IF and future studies should rely on multidisciplinary, multicentre and multinational collaborations that gather data from large cohorts of patients. Emphasis should also be placed on partnership with patients, carers and government agencies in order to improve the quality of research that focuses on patient-centred outcomes that will help to improve both outcomes and quality of life in patients with this devastating condition.
About 20%–50% of patients in hospitals are undernourished. The number varies depending on the screening tool amended and clinical setting. A large number of these patients are undernourished when admitted to the hospital, and in most of these patients, undernutrition develops further during hospital stay. The nutrition course of the patient starts by nutritional screening and is linked to the prescription of a nutrition plan and monitoring. The purpose of nutritional screening is to predict the probability of a better or worse outcome due to nutritional factors and whether nutritional treatment is likely to influence this. Most screening tools address four basic questions: recent weight loss, recent food intake, current body mass index, and disease severity. Some screening tools, moreover, include other measurements for predicting the risk of malnutrition. The usefulness of screening methods recommended is based on the aspects of predictive validity, content validity, reliability, and practicability. Various tools are recommended depending on the setting, ie, in the community, in the hospital, and among elderly in institutions. The Nutrition Risk Screening (NRS) 2002 seems to be the best validated screening tool, in terms of predictive validity ie, the clinical outcome improves when patients identified to be at risk are treated. For adult patients in hospital, thus, the NRS 2002 is recommended.
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