The impact of nutritional support on malnourished inpatients with aging-related vulnerability

Journal Paper/Review - Apr 22, 2021


Baumgartner A, Brändle M, Henzen C, Thomann R, Rutishauser J, Aujesky D, Rodondi N, Donzé J, Stanga Z, Mueller B, Sigrist S, Bilz S, Pavlicek V, Pachnis D, Parra L, Hersberger L, Bargetzi A, Bargetzi L, Kaegi-Braun N, Tribolet P, Gomes F, Hoess C, Schuetz P. The impact of nutritional support on malnourished inpatients with aging-related vulnerability. Nutrition 2021; 89:111279.
Journal Paper/Review (English)
Nutrition 2021; 89
Publication Date
Apr 22, 2021
Issn Electronic
Brief description/objective

Malnutrition is highly prevalent in patients with aging-related vulnerability defined by very old age (≥80 y), physical frailty or cognitive impairment, and increases the risks for morbidity and mortality. The effects of individualized nutritional support for patients with aging-related vulnerability in the acute hospital setting on mortality and other clinical outcomes remains understudied.

For this secondary analysis of the randomized-controlled Effect of Early Nutritional Support on Frailty, Functional Outcomes, and Recovery of Malnourished Medical Inpatients Trial (EFFORT), we analyzed data of patients at a nutritional risk (Nutritional Risk Screening 2002 score ≥3 points) with aging-related vulnerability, randomized to receive protocol-guided individualized nutritional support to reach specific protein and energy goals (intervention group) or routine hospital food (control group). The primary endpoint was all-cause 30-d mortality.

Of the 881 patients with aging-related vulnerability, 23.4% presented with a frailty syndrome, 81.8% were age ≥80 y and 15.3% showed cognitive impairment. Patients with aging-related vulnerability receiving individualized nutritional support compared with routine hospital food showed a >50% reduction in the risk of 30-day mortality (60 of 442 [13.6%] versus 31 of 439 [7.1%]; odds ratio: 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.31-0.76; P = 0.002). Significant improvements were also found for long-term mortality at 180 days, as well as functional outcomes and quality of life measures.

Malnourished patients with aging-related vulnerability show a significant and clinically relevant reduction in the risk of mortality and other adverse clinical outcomes after individualized in-hospital nutritional support compared to routine hospital nutrition. These data support the early screening of patients with aging-related vulnerability for nutritional risk, followed by a nutritional assessment and implementation of individualized nutritional interventions.