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      Hospital Malnutrition, a Call for Political Action: A Public Health and NutritionDay Perspective

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          Disease-related malnutrition (DRM) is prevalent in hospitals and is associated with increased care needs, prolonged hospital stay, delayed rehabilitation and death. Nutrition care process related activities such as screening, assessment and treatment has been advocated by scientific societies and patient organizations but implementation is variable. We analysed the cross-sectional nutritionDay database for prevalence of nutrition risk factors, care processes and outcome for medical, surgical, long-term care and other patients ( n = 153,470). In 59,126 medical patients included between 2006 and 2015 the prevalence of recent weight loss (45%), history of decreased eating (48%) and low actual eating (53%) was more prevalent than low BMI (8%). Each of these risk factors was associated with a large increase in 30 days hospital mortality. A similar pattern is found in all four patient groups. Nutrition care processes increase slightly with the presence of risk factors but are never done in more than 50% of the patients. Only a third of patients not eating in hospital receive oral nutritional supplements or artificial nutrition. We suggest that political action should be taken to raise awareness and formal education on all aspects related to DRM for all stakeholders, to create and support responsibilities within hospitals, and to create adequate reimbursement schemes. Collection of routine and benchmarking data is crucial to tackle DRM.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Malnutrition and its impact on cost of hospitalization, length of stay, readmission and 3-year mortality.

          The confounding effect of disease on the outcomes of malnutrition using diagnosis-related groups (DRG) has never been studied in a multidisciplinary setting. This study aims to determine the prevalence of malnutrition in a tertiary hospital in Singapore and its impact on hospitalization outcomes and costs, controlling for DRG. This prospective cohort study included a matched case control study. Subjective Global Assessment was used to assess the nutritional status on admission of 818 adults. Hospitalization outcomes over 3 years were adjusted for gender, age, ethnicity, and matched for DRG. Malnourished patients (29%) had longer hospital stays (6.9±7.3 days vs. 4.6±5.6 days, p<0.001) and were more likely to be readmitted within 15 days (adjusted relative risk=1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.2, p=0.025). Within a DRG, the mean difference between actual cost of hospitalization and the average cost for malnourished patients was greater than well-nourished patients (p=0.014). Mortality was higher in malnourished patients at 1 year (34% vs. 4.1 %), 2 years (42.6% vs. 6.7%) and 3 years (48.5% vs. 9.9%); p<0.001 for all. Overall, malnutrition was a significant predictor of mortality (adjusted hazard ratio=4.4, 95% CI 3.3-6.0, p<0.001). Malnutrition was evident in up to one third of the inpatients and led to poor hospitalization outcomes and survival as well as increased costs of care, even after matching for DRG. Strategies to prevent and treat malnutrition in the hospital and post-discharge are needed. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. All rights reserved.
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            Prevalence of malnutrition in general medical patients.

            Three, single-day nutritional surveys at weekly intervals were conducted in the general medical wards of an urban municipal teaching hospital. The techniques of nutritional assessment included anthropometric measures (weight/height, triceps skin fold, arm-muscle circumference, serum albumin, and hematocrit). The prevalence of protein-calorie malnutrition was 44% or greater by these criteria (weight/height, 45%; triceps skin fold, 76%; arm-muscle circumference, 55%; serum albumin, 44%; and hematocrit, 48%). These results were reproducible without significant variation between surveys. In 34% of patients, a lymphopenia of 1,200 cells/cu mm or less was found, a level likely to be associated with diminished cell-mediated immunity. Compared with a similar survey among surgical patients, the medical patients were more depleted calorically (weight/height, triceps skin fold) but had better protein status (arm-muscle circumference, serum albumin). Significant protein-calorie malnutrition occurs commonly in municipal hospitals in both medical and surgical services.
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              How nutritional risk is assessed and managed in European hospitals: a survey of 21,007 patients findings from the 2007-2008 cross-sectional nutritionDay survey.

              Recognition and treatment of undernutrition in hospitalized patients are not often a priority in clinical practice. We investigated how the nutritional risk of patients is determined and whether such assessment influences daily nutritional care across Europe and in Israeli hospitals. 1217 units from 325 hospitals in 25 countries with 21,007 patients participated in a longitudinal survey "nutritionDay" 2007/2008 undertaken in Europe and Israel. Screening practice, the type of tools used and whether energy requirements and intake are assessed and monitored were surveyed using standardized questionnaires. Fifty-two percent (range 21-73%) of the units in the different regions reported a screening routine which was most often performed with locally developed methods and less often with national tools, the Nutrition Risk Screening-2002, or the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool. Twenty-seven percent of the patients were subjectively classified as being "at nutritional risk", with substantial differences existing between regions. Independent factors influencing the classification of nutritional risk included age, BMI =1500 kcal in 76% of the patients, but 43% of patients did not reach this goal. The process of nutrition risk assessment varied between units and countries. Additionally, energy goals were frequently not met. More effort is needed to implement current guidelines within daily clinical practice. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                J Clin Med
                J Clin Med
                Journal of Clinical Medicine
                22 November 2019
                December 2019
                : 8
                : 12
                [1 ]Division Cardio-thoracic and Vascular Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Medical University Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria; silvia.tarantino@ (S.T.); sigrid.moick@ (S.M.); mohamed.mouhieddine@ (M.M.)
                [2 ]Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics and Intelligent Systems, Medical University Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria; isabella.sulz@ (I.S.); christian.schuh@ (C.S.)
                [3 ]Department of Health Economics, Center for Public Health, Medical University Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria; judit.simon@
                [4 ]Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria; karin.schindler@
                [5 ]Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, 00185 Roma, Italy; alessandro.laviano@
                [6 ]Institute for Biomedicine of Ageing, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, 90408 Nürnberg, Germany; dorothee.volkert@
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: michael.hiesmayr@ ; Tel.: +43-(0)1-40400-41080
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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