A longitudinal analysis of resting energy expenditure and body composition in people with spinal cord injury undergoing surgical repair of pressure injuries: a pilot study

Amy N. Nevin, Susan Urquhart, Sridhar S. Atresh, Timothy J. Geraghty, Elizabeth Walter, Elizabeth G. Ryan, Angela Vivanti, Leigh C. Ward, Ingrid J. Hickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Data informing energy needs of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) and pressure injuries are scarce, the impact of surgical repair unknown, and the role of body composition in healing unexplored. The study aims were to investigate resting energy expenditure (REE) over the course of pressure injury surgical repair, compare with available energy prediction equations, and explore associations between body composition and wound healing. Methods: Indirect calorimetry measured REE pre-surgery, post-surgery, at suture removal and hospital discharge. A clinically significant change was defined as +/−10% difference from pre-surgery. Eight SCI-specific energy prediction equations were compared to pre-surgery REE. Wound breakdown (Yes/No), weight, waist circumference (WC), and body composition (fat mass [FM], fat-free mass [FFM], bioimpedance spectroscopy) were measured. Results: Twenty people underwent pressure injury surgical repair (95% male, mean age 56 ± 12 years, 70% paraplegia). Between pre-surgery and discharge, mean REE increased (+118 kcal/d, p = 0.005), but with <10% change at any timepoint. An energy prediction equation incorporating FFM showed greatest agreement (rc = 0.779, 95% CI: 0.437, 0.924). Those with wound breakdown (65%) had a higher weight (12.7 kg, 95% CI: −4.0, 29.3), WC (17.8 cm, 95% CI: −5.1, 40.7), and FM % (36.0% [IQR 31.8, 40.2] vs 26.0% [IQR 15.6, 41.3]) than those without wound breakdown, although statistical significance was not reached. Conclusion: The presence of pressure injuries and subsequent surgical repair did not impact REE and energy prediction equations incorporating FFM performed best. While not statistically significant, clinically important differences in body composition were observed in those with wound breakdown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386–392
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

Cite this