Nutritional status, function of the small intestine and jejunal morphology after total gastrectomy for carcinoma of the stomach

M. Cristallo, M. Braga, D. Agape, M. Primignani, W. Zuliani, M. Vecchi, M. Murone, M. Sironi, V. Di Carlo, R. De Franchis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the nutritional status and the prevalence of malabsorption in 12 patients one to three years after total gastrectomy (TG) for gastric neoplasm. The Roux-en Y technique was used for reconstruction. A correct dietary regimen according to the recommended daily allowance was suggested and patients were seen quarterly on an out patient basis. The nutritional status was evaluated by measuring serum albumin levels, total iron binding capacity, cholinesterase, area muscular circumference, triceps skinfold and delayed hypersensitivity response. Work-up studies for the small intestine included: stool fat, D-xylose and glucose tolerance tests, Schilling test (phase II and III), serum iron levels, serum vitamin B12 levels and biopsy of the jejunum. Malnutrition, defined as the occurrence of two or more abnormal nutritional parameters, was observed in one patient; glucose and D-xylose tolerance tests were normal in all. A mild degree of steatorrhea was observed in four patients. The second phase of the Schilling test was abnormal in eight patients, but urinary excretion of vitamin B12 increased in three of four patients after use of antibiotics. Low serum vitamin B12 levels were common after the twentieth postoperative month. Serum iron levels were initially low and returned to normal six months after TG. All patients had normal jejunal histolic findings. These data indicate that malnutrition after TG is not common if an adequate dietary intake is maintained. Malabsorption, possibly due to bacterial overgrowth, is not a major clinical problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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