A reference standard for plasma proteins is required for nutritional assessment of adult burn patients.Burns 1998; 24(4):337-45B
Plasma levels of visceral proteins (VP) are commonly used for evaluation of nutritional status. Low values observed in burn patients are caused by several factors including microvascular hyper-permeability and inflammatory processes. The aim of the study was to define a range of standard values specific to burn patients. Retrospective review: from days post-burn 12 to 43, four VP and three acute phase reactants (APR) were measured twice a week, in the plasma of 107 burn patients. From these data, standard' values were determined in respect with burn surface area (BSA) and post-burn time. The results were that the VP increase and APR decrease linearly during the study. Correlation between plasma proteins and BSA or post-burn day, change from protein to protein. Albumin and transferrin are less sensitive than prealbumin and especially retinol binding protein to variations of APR, but transferrin lacks of specificity. The conclusion of the study was that plasma levels of VP have to be compared to reference standard values. When levels lower than theoretical values are observed, simultaneous APR values (especially C reactive protein) have to be compared to their own reference standard, in order to separate nutritional from inflammatory effects.