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Rev Col Bras Cir. 2009 Oct;36(5):371-6.

[Adductor pollicis muscle thickness: a fast and reliable method for nutritional assessment in surgical patients].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Nutrição e Cirurgia do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde da Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso, MT - BR.



Investigate whether the right adductor pollicis muscle thickness is a reliable method to evaluate the nutritional status of surgical patients and whether it correlates or not correlate to other anthropometric, biochemical, and clinical parameters.


Cross-sectional study evaluating 87 patients candidates to major operations of the gastrointestinal tract. All were submitted to global subjective evaluation, traditional anthropometry (arm circumpherence ; triceps skin fold; and arm muscle circumpherence, serum albumin, lymphocytes and measurement of in both hands.


The mean right adductor pollicis muscle thickness in dominant hand was 12,64 +/- 3,19 mm and in non-dominant hand (EMAPND) 12,23 +/- 2,9 mm. Sensitivity was 72,37% for left adductor pollicis muscle and 77,33% for left adductor pollicis muscle thickness being the cut-offs given by the ROC curve (13,4 and 13,1mm respectively). Specificity was 100% for both hands. There was a significantly correlation (P<0.01) for right adductor pollicis muscle thickness with all anthropometric parameters. The mean value for normal individuals was significantly greater (P<0.001) than for mild malnourished which was greater (p<0.05) when compared to patients with severe malnutrition.


right adductor pollicis muscle thickness is a low-cost, reliable, and trustworthy method to assess nutritional status that can be easily and safety used in clinical practice for surgical patients.

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