Subjective Global Nutritional Assessment in Critically Ill Children

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Underweight children admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) have a higher risk of mortality than normal-weight children. The authors hypothesized that subjective global nutrition assessment (SGNA) could identify malnutrition in the PICU and predict nutrition-associated morbidities.


The authors prospectively evaluated the nutrition status of 150 children (aged 31 days to 5 years) admitted to the PICU with the use of SGNA and commonly used objective anthropometric and laboratory measurements. Each child was administered the SGNA by a dietitian while anthropometric measurements were performed by an independent assessor. To test interrater reproducibility, 76 children had SGNA performed by another dietitian. Occurrence of nutrition-associated complications was documented for 30 days after admission.


SGNA ratings of well nourished, moderately malnourished, or severely malnourished demonstrated moderate to strong correlation with several standard anthropometric measurements (P < .05). The laboratory markers did not demonstrate any correlation with SGNA. Interrater agreement showed moderate reliability (κ = 0.671). Length of stay, pediatric logistic organ dysfunction, and Pediatric Risk of Mortality III were not significantly different across the groups and did not correlate with SGNA. (JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013;37:659–666)

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