Long-term nutrition intervention following major upper gastrointestinal surgery: a prospective randomized controlled trial

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Nutritional status has been shown to affect quality of life, tolerance of future treatments and survival in people having undergone major upper gastrointestinal surgery. The objective of this trial was to assess the impact of intense individualized dietary advice following major upper gastrointestinal surgery on nutritional status, dietary intake, gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life, compared to the current usual care.


On discharge from hospital, people having had major upper gastrointestinal surgery were randomized to have dietetic follow-up fortnightly for 6 months or to a control group. Data collection was conducted at baseline, and at 1, 3 and 6 months.


Twenty-seven people were randomized to either the intervention or control group. There was a small but non-significant difference in percent weight loss in the intervention (−0.8±8.8) compared to the control group (−2.7±9.7) at 6 months. There were no other differences between the two groups.


This small study did not demonstrate that intense individualized dietary advice leads to improvements in nutritional status and quality of life for people having had major upper gastrointestinal surgery. The study does highlight that this group is at high nutritional risk, and does support the need for a larger multicentre study.

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