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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1979 Sep-Oct;3(5):350-4.

Ketosis and nitrogen excretion in undernourished surgical patients.


Hormonal and substrate profiles and urinary nitrogen and urea excretion were measured in 78 underweight patients admitted for surgical investigation, who were placed into either a normo- or a hyperketonemic group, depending upon their levels of acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. The two groups were otherwise similar in terms of weight loss, arm muscle circumference, triceps skinfold thickness, and serum protein levels. Before surgery only one-quarter of them were hyperketonemic displaying mean glucose, insulin, and glucagon levels characteristic of starvation-adaption, and excreted significantly less urinary nitrogen than in normoketonemic group. Those patients who underwent surgery tended to retain their presurgery hormonal and substrate profile. The normoketonemic group excreted significantly greater amounts of urinary nitrogen, depleted body protein to a greater extent as evidenced by larger changes in arm muscle circumference and serum protein levels, and mortality was greater. Interference with insulin-glucagon balance by sepsis and disease is suggested as a possible explanation for the failure of three-quarters of the patients to become starvation-adapted. The implications of this finding on the parenteral feeding of undernourished patients are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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