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High risk of disease-related malnutrition in gastroenterology outpatients

Holm, Mette O., Mikkelsen, Sabina, Zacher, Nina, Østergaard, Trine, Rasmussen, Henrik H., Holst, Mette
Nutrition 2020 v.75-76 pp. 110747
appetite, body mass index, confidence interval, cross-sectional studies, food intake, hospitals, nausea, nutritional intervention, odds ratio, pain, patients, protein energy malnutrition, questionnaires, regression analysis, risk, screening, standard deviation, surgery, weight loss, Denmark
Disease-related malnutrition (DRM) in hospitalized patients is known to have significant negative impact on clinical outcomes. Meanwhile, DRM in gastroenterology outpatients is scarcely investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of unintentional weight loss (UWL) and reduced food intake (RFI) as contributors to the risk of DRM in outpatients. Furthermore, the aim was to investigate if UWL may be used as initial screening for DRM, based on the correlation between UWL and RFI.All outpatients visiting the clinics for Medical and Surgery Gastroenterology, Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark, during 1 wk in September 2018, were invited to participate. Data regarding UWL within the past 3 mo, RFI the past week, and nutritional impact symptoms (NIS) were collected in this questionnaire-based cross-sectional study. Descriptive analysis, χ² test, and multiple logistic regression analysis were used for statistics.Out of 348 eligible patients, 346 were included at the medical clinic (n = 170) and surgery clinic (n = 176). UWL occurred in 26%, with a mean weight loss of 7.1 kg (standard deviation [SD] 5.2), and 24% had RFI. A significantly increased risk of UWL was identified in patients with body mass index <18.5 kg/m² (odds ratio 6.1; confidence interval 2.0–18.7; P = 0.003). NIS were more common in the medical clinic. The main self-reported reasons for NIS affecting UWL were lack of appetite (15% versus 12%), pain (14% versus 8%), and nausea (12% versus 3%).One in four outpatients experienced UWL to an extent that may have a significant negative impact on clinical outcome. A firm correlation was found between UWL and RFI. Thus, based on this superficial study, UWL may be used as initial screening for protein-energy malnutrition in the medical and surgery gastroenterology outpatient setting. The impact on clinical outcome and of early nutritional intervention in these settings need to be investigated.