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Undernutrition measured by the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) test and related risk factors in older adults under hospital emergency care

Bolado Jiménez, C., Fernádez Ovalle, H., Muñoz Moreno, MF, Aller de la Fuente, R., de Luis Román, DA
Nutrition 2019 v.66 pp. 142-146
body mass index, comorbidity, cross-sectional studies, developed countries, elderly, hematocrit, hemoglobin, hospitals, immune response, malnutrition, multivariate analysis, nutrition assessment, patients, risk factors, sociodemographic characteristics, tissue repair, urban areas
In developed countries, undernutrition is a health problem that affects mostly older adults, worsens with hospitalization, and affects immune response, with higher rates of infection and delayed wound healing, which leads to an increase in hospital stay and health costs. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of undernutrition and related risk factors in a sample of older adults who presented at the emergency room (ER) of a university hospital in Spain.This was a cross-sectional study of 288 patients ≥70 y of age who were seen at the emergency department at the University Hospital of Valladolid. Variables of nutritional evaluation, including a Mini Nutritional Assessment Test, sociodemographic factors, comorbidities, chronic treatments, frequency of visits to the ER, and destination after hospital discharge were collected.The percentage of undernutrition was 14.9% and the risk for undernutrition was 54.5%. Most patients were able to independently conduct basic activities of daily living (BADLs), lived at home, resided in an urban environment, and had autonomous mobility. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 26.14 ± 4.52 kg/m2. Patients who were dependent on others for BADLs; institutionalized or bedridden; and with hematologic disease, chronic depressive syndrome, polymedication, low hemoglobin or low hematocrit, and hypochromia were associated with a higher prevalence of undernutrition. In the multivariate analysis, for each unit of increase in BMI, patients had 12% lower risk for developing undernutrition, and for each unit of increase in the frequency of ER visits, patients had a 41% higher risk for developing undernutrition.Older adults who presented to the ER had a high percentage of undernutrition, which is related to sociodemographic factors, comorbidities, polymedication, and biochemical factors. We also found a direct association between the frequency of ER visits and undernutrition, in addition to an inverse relationship with BMI. Detecting undernutrition in an ER may improve health and reduce related complications in older adults.