Research Research and Practice Innovation| Volume 110, ISSUE 7, P1072-1077, July 2010

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Evaluation of Taste Sensitivity in Patients Undergoing Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery


      Patients report changes in their perception of food tastes following cardiac surgery. This study was designed to explore changes in taste sensitivity following coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Detection and recognition thresholds for sweet (sucrose), salty (sodium chloride), sour (citric acid), and bitter (quinine hydrochloride) were determined using the multiple forced-choice ascending concentration series method at baseline (presurgical), discharge, 5 weeks, and 16 weeks post-CABG. Demographic and gastrointestinal data were also obtained. Mixed-model analyses for repeated measures were performed using the baseline scores as reference. Thirty-three patients (mean age=61.8±8 years), consented to participate in the study between January 2003 and January 2006, with 13 completing all visits. Detection and recognition thresholds for sweet were significantly lower at discharge compared with baseline (1.7±1.2 vs 2.43±1.4 and 5.1±1.8 vs 5.5±1.3, respectively; P<0.05). This difference remained significant 4 months after surgery. Detection and recognition thresholds for salt also declined with time, with significant differences at 4 months post-surgery (2.3±2.0 vs 1.8±1.5; P<0.001 and 5.3±1.3 vs 4.2±2.2; P<0.05, respectively). The same trends were noted for the detection of sour and the recognition of bitter. Patients undergoing CABG demonstrated stable or improved taste sensitivity during the recovery period. Further studies aimed at clarifying the relationships between the biological state, taste sensitivity, reported taste changes, and food intake will help to clarify the clinical impact of taste changes and subsequently to guide clinical nutrition care.
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      M. Keith is coordinator of nutrition and dietetic education, Supply Chain and Support Services, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; she is also an associate scientist, Keenan Research Center, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and an assistant professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


      R. Mokbel is a research coordinator, Heart Program, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


      J. Song is a clinical dietitian, Heart Program, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


      L. Errett is chief of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, Heart Program, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


      M. San Emeterio is a research volunteer, Supply Chain and Support Services, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada