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Clin Nutr. 1990 Aug;9(4):179-84.

Effect of dietary supplement on nutritional status and clinical outcome in 501 geriatric patients--a randomised study.

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Department of Surgery, Clinical Chemistry, Geriatrics and Long Term Care Medicine and Caring Sciences, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden.


The present study was designed to evaluate to the effect of dietary supplements on clinical outcome and nutritional status in a large group of geriatric patients (n = 501). The patients were randomised into an experimental group which received nutritional supplementation (400 kcal) as well as a standard hospital diet, and a control group on hospital diet alone. The nutritional state was measured on admission and after 8 and 26 weeks by anthropometry, serum protein analysis and a delayed hypersensitivity skin test. Protein energy malnutrition was defined as the presence of three or more abnormal parameters. 28.5% of patients showed evidence of malnutrition on admission. Hospitalisation itself resulted in a gradual deterioration in nutritional status. Nutritional supplementation generally improved nutritional state. Among those patients who were well nourished on admission, and subsequently receiving dietary supplementation, 8.3% fulfilled malnutrition criteria after 26 weeks, while 21.1% were considered malnourished in the control group (p < 0.05). The improvement observed in transport proteins was probably related to nutritional support and not just to the reversal of inflammation. In the initially well nourished group of more than 300 patients, the mortality rate was 8.6% in those given nutritional support compared to 18.6% in the control group (p < 0.02).


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