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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


CERECEDA FERNANDEZ, C. et al. Detection of malnutrition on admission to hospital. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2003, vol.18, n.2, pp.95-100. ISSN 1699-5198.

In view of the high prevalence of malnutrition in hospitals as shown by some studies and in the light of its direct impact on the increase in morbidity and mortality among hospitalized patients, it is necessary to ensure the early identification of this condition. This would allow appropriate nutritional treatment to be instituted as soon as possible for patients at risk who require it. The present multi-centric study included the participation of hospitals in the northern region of the country which have a Nutrition Unit, with use of the Overall Subjective Assessment and a few basic parameters. The study analyzed the nutritional status on admission of 620 patients hospitalized in the Internal Medicine and General Surgery areas during the months of December, 1999, January, February and March, 2000. We detected moderate malnutrition or suspected malnutrition in 20% of the patients studied and severe malnutrition in 18.2%, with a greater incidence in Internal Medicine. Malnutrition was mainly evidenced by weight loss of more than 5% and a reduction in subcutaneous fat and muscle mass. In addition, there are functional limitations on performing everyday activities. Changes in dietary intake were present in 40.8% of the patients. The associated gastro-intestinal symptoms included anorexia, which affected 37.7% of the group studied. Malnutrition is most frequently linked with infectious diseases, problems in circulation and with the digestive apparatus. We feel that the Overall Subjective Assessment, together with the measurement of height and weight, should be used systematically with patients on admission, as it is a simple and effective method for the identification of patients with nutritional risk.

Keywords : Early detection; Malnutrition; Overall subjective assessment.

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