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Background: There is no difference in medical and nutritional therapy between elderly and young surgical patients. However, based on the high prevalence of malnutrition or a risk for malnutrition and the associated risk for complications, elderly surgical patients should receive special attention. Aim: This article addresses the options in perioperative nutritional therapy and gives an overview on current guidelines and study results. Materials and methods: The article includes a literature review of current national and international guidelines in the field of surgery and geriatrics. Cochrane reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and significant single studies are also included. Results: Contrary to former approaches, national and international organizations recommend to keep the duration of pre- and postoperative fasting as short as possible. The benefits of nutritional therapy in stabilization and improvement of the nutritional status of surgical patients has already been shown in several patient groups like patients undergoing major abdominal surgeries. For other patients groups, like patients with sepsis, further studies are needed to evaluate the benefit of a perioperative nutritional intervention. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Original publication




Journal article


Zeitschrift fur Gerontologie und Geriatrie

Publication Date





131 - 135