Nutritional predictors of mortality after discharge in elderly patients on a medical ward

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Abstract

Background

Malnutrition in elderly inpatients hospitalized on medical wards is a significant public health concern. The aim of this study was to investigate nutritional markers as mortality predictors following discharge in hospitalized medical elderly patients.

Materials and methods

This is a prospective observational cohort study with follow-up of 48 months. Two hundred and twenty-five individuals aged 60 and older admitted from the hospital emergency room in the past 48 h were investigated at the medical ward in the University hospital in Palermo (Italy). Anthropometric and clinical measurements, Mini-nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire, bioelectrical (BIA) phase angle (PA), grip strength were obtained all within 48 h of admission. Mortality data were verified by means of mortality registry and analysed using Cox-proportional hazard models.

Results

Ninety (40%) participants died at the end of follow-up. There were significant relationships between PA, MNA score, age and gender on mortality. Patients in the lowest tertile of PA (< 4·6°) had higher mortality estimates [I vs II tertile: hazard ratio (HR) = 3·40; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2·01–5·77; II vs III tertile: HR = 3·83; 95% CI: 2·21–6·64; log-rank test: χ2 = 43·6; P < 0·001]. Similarly, the survival curves demonstrated low MNA scores (< 22) were associated with higher mortality estimates (HR = 1·85; 95% CI: 1·22–2·81 χ2 = 8·2; P = 0·004).

Conclusions

The MNA and BIA-derived phase angle are reasonable tools to identify malnourished patients at high mortality risk and may represent useful markers in intervention trials in this high-risk subgroup.

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