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Anales de Medicina Interna

Print version ISSN 0212-7199


RAMOS MARTINEZ, A.; ASENSIO VEGAS, A.; NUNEZ PALOMO, S.  and  MILLAN SANTOS, I.. Prevalence and risk factors associated to malnutrition in elderly inpatients. An. Med. Interna (Madrid) [online]. 2004, vol.21, n.6, pp.9-18. ISSN 0212-7199.

Background: Malnutrition is a frequent clinical finding in elderly inpatients that is deleterious to the physiologic function of several body's organs or systems that is accompanied of an increase of the length of hospitalization, economic burden and mortality. Protein-energy malnutrition risk factors in elderly patients are not well defined. Method: A transversal study of inpatients over 70 years in a internal medicine ward was undertaken in order to know the protein-energy malnutrition's prevalence a possible risk factors. It was considered that a patient suffered from had protein-energy malnutrition if he or she had a tricipital skinfold thickness or a arm circumference under 10th percentile and/or had low levels of two of the following clinical parameters: plasmatic albumin (under 3.5 mg/100 ml). Plasmatic transferrin (under 150 mg/100 ml) or a lymphocytic cell count (under 1,500 cells/ml). Results: A hundred and five patients were included. Mean age was 83.0 ± 6.4 years with a predominance of the female sex (61%). Thirty-three patients (31%) were sent from nursing homes. A 35% were very dependent and frail elderly patients. Fifty-eight patients presented at hospital with protein-energy malnutrition (prevalence = 57.1%; CI 95% 47.1%-66.8%). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a acute infectious disease were independent risk factors associated protein-energy malnutrition (prevalence ratio of 1.4 and 0.5, respectively). Conclusions: Protein-energy malnutrition's prevalence in elderly inpatients is very important. Infectious diseases and COPD are positively and negatively associated with protein-energy malnutrition.

Keywords : Protein-energy malnutrition; Frail elderly; Nursing homes; Transferrin; Tricipital skinfold thickness.

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