Evaluation of serum visceral protein levels as indicators of nitrogen balance in thermally injured patients

D. E. Carlson, W. G. Cioffi, A. D. Mason, W. F. McManus, B. A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


The use of serum visceral protein concentrations as predictors of nitrogen balance was assessed during the first 4 weeks following thermal injury. The correlation between nitrogen balance and serum albumin was not significant. Statistically significant correlations were found between nitrogen balance and serum prealbumin, retinol-binding protein, and transferrin. However, even the best correlation (retinol-binding protein, r = 0.388) was too weak to permit prediction of nitrogen balance on the basis of the visceral protein concentration. The correlation between change in direction of nitrogen balance and change in direction of protein concentration over time showed all four visceral proteins to be poor predictors of change in nitrogen balance. The efficiency was less than 50% for each visceral protein. Stepwise multiple regression analysis performed to determine which indices were most closely correlated with nitrogen balance showed that a calculation using readily available information (nitrogen intake, postburn day, percent total body surface burned, and age) provided better prediction of nitrogen balance (r = 0.765) than any of the visceral protein concentrations. In view of these findings, measurement of serum visceral protein concentrations to monitor adequacy of nutritional support seems an unwarranted expense in patients with thermal injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-444
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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