Nutritional risk profile in a university hospital population
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Background & aims: The prevalence of nutritional risk varies according to several factors. We aimed to determine the nutritional risk profile in a large Norwegian hospital population, specifically by age, disease category and hospital department.
Methods: Nutritional surveys are performed routinely at Haukeland University Hospital, Norway. During eight surveys in 2008-2009, 3279 patients were categorized according to the Nutritional Risk Screening tool (NRS 2002).
Results: The overall prevalence of nutritional risk was 29%, highest in patients with infections (51%), cancer (44%) and pulmonary diseases (42%), and in the departments of intensive care (74%), oncology (49%) and pulmonology (43%). Further, nutritional risk was identified in 40% of patients aged ≥80 years compared to 21% of age <40 years and 35% of patients with emergency admissions compared to 19% with elective admissions. Related to the tool components, nutritional risk was most common in patients with low BMI (<20.5 kg/m²) (95%) and/or high comorbidity (>7 diagnoses) (45%). However it was also high in patients with BMI ≥25 kg/m² (12%) and in those with fewer than 7 diagnoses (26%).
Conclusions: Nutritional risk was most common among patients with high age, low BMI, more comorbidity, and with infections, cancer or pulmonary diseases, and patients who were discharged to nursing homes. However, the highest number of patients at nutritional risk had BMI in the normal or overweight range, were 60-80 years old, and were found in departments of general medicine or surgery. Importantly, younger patients and overweight patients were also affected. Thus, nutritional risk screening should be performed in the total patient population in order to identify, within this heterogeneous group of patients, those at nutritional risk.