Background Malnutrition is a serious disorder that is frequently underestimated in patients hospitalised for other conditions.
Purpose The principal objective was to assess the prevalence of malnutrition in elderly patients hospitalised to the Internal Medicine ward. The secondary objective was to determine the possible association between this condition and patient’s clinical characteristics in terms of comorbidity, functional status, cognitive impairment and dysphagia.
Material and methods Descriptive, observational and cross-sectional study including 122 patients over 3 months (May–July 2014). We recorded: general data (age, sex, length of stay, Body Mass Index [BMI]), comorbidity (Charlson), cognitive impairment (Pfeiffer), functional status (Barthel), analytic parameters of interest (albumin, total protein, lymphocyte count and cholesterol) presence or not of dysphagia and pressure ulcers. Results were expressed in mean, standard deviation and percentages.
Results The age of our group was 76.8 ± 6.2 (53.3% men). 55.7% of the elderly were malnourished when they were admitted. The Charlson index showed that 59% of them had comorbidity. The Barthel index was 34.7 ± 4, where 64.4% had severe or total dependence, and 28.7% had mild to severe cognitive impairment (Pfeiffer). The BMI was 22.9 ± 3.4 kg/m2. The prevalence of dysphagia was 35%. We found an association between malnutrition and weight/BMI (p = 0.001 for both), age (p = 0.013), Pfeiffer (p = 0.003), Barthel (p = 0.000), dysphagia (p = 0.001), total protein (p = 0.015), lymphocyte count (p = 0.008) and presence of pressure ulcers (p = 0.002).
Conclusion Malnutrition is a problem of high prevalence and impact in our population and our results are similar to those of other studies. It is of paramount importance to correctly evaluate the presence of risk factors and diagnose this condition in order to prevent/treat it correctly.
References and/or Acknowledgements
Reger JG, Zúñiga AS, Cruz MG. Prevalencia de desnutrición del adulto mayor al ingreso hospitalario. Nutr Hosp 2007;22(6):702–9
References and/or AcknowledgementsNo conflict of interest.
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