The value of bioelectrical impedance analysis and phase angle in the evaluation of malnutrition and quality of life in cancer patients—a comprehensive review

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Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and especially its derived parameter phase angle have been widely used in different populations. The variability of BIA measures has often been cited as a major limitation for its clinical use in evaluating nutritional status and overall health of patients. Cancer patients often present with malnourishment and cachexia, which complicate the course of treatment and affect outcomes. PubMed, CINAHL, EBSCO and Cochrane Library have been searched for relevant publications in English for BIA in cancer patients. Out of 197 total results, 27 original research articles related to BIA measures in cancer patients were included in this review. Studies indicate that the use of BIA and phase angle measures can benefit in the clinical management of cancer patients in multiple ways: in the prevention; diagnosis; prognosis; and outcomes related to treatments that affect nutritional and overall health status. Phase angle and fat-free mass measures were most commonly evaluated and correlated with nutritional status and survival rate. One limitation of BIA measures is the high interpatient variability which requires careful interpretation of results in the context of the individual patient rather than comparison with population data. The BIA and phase angle provide practitioners for the evaluation of nutritional and overall health status in cancer patients with a convenient and non-invasive technique and should be encouraged.

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