IMAJ | volume 14
Journal 7, July 2012
Background: Depending on the definition used, malnutrition is prevalent among 20¨C50% of hospitalized patients. Routine nutritional screening is necessary to identify patients with or at increased risk for malnutrition. The Nutrition Risk Screening (NRS 2002) has been recommended as an efficient tool to identify the risk of malnutrition in adult inpatients.
Objectives: To utilize the NRS 2002 to estimate the prevalence of malnutrition among newly hospitalized adult patients, and to identify risk factors for malnutrition.
Methods: During a 5 week period, all adult patients newly admitted to all inpatient departments (except Maternity and Emergency) at Wolfson Medical Center, Holon, were screened using the NRS 2002. An answer of yes recorded for any of the Step 1 questions triggered the Step 2 screen on which an age-adjusted total score ¡Ý 3 indicated high malnutrition risk.
Results: Data were obtained from 504 newly hospitalized adult patients, of whom 159 (31.5%) were identified as high risk for malnutrition. Malnutrition was more prevalent in internal medicine than surgical departments: 38.6% vs. 19.1% (P < 0.001). Body mass index was within the normal range among subjects at high risk for malnutrition: 23.9 ¡À 5.6 kg/m2 but significantly lower than in subjects at low malnutrition risk: 27.9 ¡À 5.3 kg/m2 (P < 0.001). Malnutrition risk did not differ by gender or smoking status, but subjects at high malnutrition risk were significantly older (73.3 ¡À 16.2 vs. 63.4 ¡À 18.4 years, P < 0.001). Total protein, albumin, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol, hemoglobin and %lymphocytes were all significantly lower, whereas urea, creatinine and %neutrophils were significantly higher in patients at high malnutrition risk.
Conclusions: Use of the NRS 2002 identified a large proportion of newly hospitalized adults as being at high risk for malnutrition. These findings indicate the need to intervene on a system-wide level during hospitalization.