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Clin Nutr. 2001 Dec;20(6):517-26.

Should the food intake of patients admitted to acute hospital services be routinely supplemented? A randomized placebo controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Department of Human Nutrition, St Bartholomews, Royal London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Many patients admitted to acute hospital services are underweight or harbour vitamin deficiencies.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the effect on patient throughput of a policy of routine vitamin supplementation, and of early routine sipfeed supplementation in 'thin' patients (5-10% weight loss or body mass index 18-22).

DESIGN:

Factorial randomized placebo controlled trial of oral multivitamins from the first day of admission, and, after nutritional screening, of a nutritionally complete sipfeed from the second day in 'thin' patients.

SETTING:

Acute medical, surgical and orthopaedic hospital services of a London teaching hospital.

PARTICIPANTS:

1561 patients admitted as emergencies were included in the vitamin study of which 549 were included in the sipfeed study.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Length of hospital stay (LOS).

RESULTS:

Offering multivitamins to acute admissions resulted in a mean change (reduction) in LOS of -0.4 days 95% CI (-2-1.2days). The results suggest greater reductions for those discharged after 10 days: mean change=-2.3 days 95% CI (-5.7 to 1.2). Sipfeed supplementation was associated with an increased mean length of stay 2.8 days 95% CI (-0.8-6.3). 18% of acute admissions were classified undernourished on the basis of BMI, MUAC or percent weight loss combined.

CONCLUSIONS:

No benefit was observed for sipfeed intervention although a small benefit of less than one day is not excluded. Vitamin supplementation may have slight but economically important benefit.

Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

PMID:
11884000
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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