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Dig Dis. 2003;21(3):245-51.

Prevalence of malnutrition in hospitalized medical patients: impact of underlying disease.

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Medizinische Klinik mit Schwerpunkt Gastroenterologie, Hepatologie und Endokrinologie, Universitätsklinikum Charité, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Deutschland.



Malnutrition is common among hospitalized patients. We investigated whether certain diseases predispose more frequently for malnutrition than others.


Nutritional state was assessed by clinical scores, anthropometry and bioimpedance analysis in 502 consecutively admitted patients in the departments of internal medicine in two hospitals in Berlin (n = 300, university hospital; n = 202, district hospital). The prevalence of malnutrition was compared in patient groups with a different diagnosis.


Malnutrition was present in 24.2% of all patients. A clear association between diagnoses and malnutrition was found: the prevalence of malnutrition was significantly higher in malignant than in non-malignant diseases (50.9 vs. 21.0%, p < 0.0001). High prevalence rates >30% were observed in subgroups of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, chronic heart failure and benign lung diseases. Patients with gastrointestinal diseases, however, were not more frequently malnourished than other medical patients (28.8 vs. 22.0%). Malnourished patients were significantly older (70.0 +/- 13.6 vs. 58.3 +/- 15.6 years, p < 0.0001) and had a 40% longer hospital stay (13.1 +/- 8.1 vs. 9.3 +/- 6.8 days, p < 0.0001) than well-nourished patients.


Patients with malignancies, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic heart failure and benign lung diseases need special attention due to the high prevalence of malnutrition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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