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The prevalence and consequences of malnutrition risk in elderly Albanian intensive care unit patients

Authors Shpata V, Ohri I, Nurka T, Prendushi X

Received 5 November 2014

Accepted for publication 19 December 2014

Published 16 February 2015 Volume 2015:10 Pages 481—486


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Vjollca Shpata,1 Ilir Ohri,2 Tatjana Nurka,1 Xhensila Prendushi1

1Faculty of Medical Technical Sciences, 2University Hospital Center of Tirana “Mother Theresa”, Faculty of Medicine, University of Medicine in Tirana, Tirana, Albania

Purpose: Many investigators have reported rising numbers of elderly patients admitted to the intensive care units (ICUs). The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of malnutrition risk in the ICU by comparing the prevalence of malnutrition between older adults (aged 65 years and above) and adults (aged 18–64 years), and to examine the negative consequences associated with risk of malnutrition in older adults.
Materials and methods: A prospective cohort study in the ICU of the University Hospital Center of Tirana, Albania, was conducted. Logistic regression analysis was used to analyze the effect of malnutrition risk on the length of ICU stay, the duration of being on the ventilator, the total complications, the infectious complications, and the mortality.
Results: In this study, 963 patients participated, of whom 459 patients (47.7%) were aged ≥65 years. The prevalence of malnutrition risk at the time of ICU admission of the patients aged ≥65 years old was 71.24%. Logistic regression adjusted for confounders showed that malnutrition risk was an independent risk factor of poor clinical outcome for elderly ICU patients, for 1) infections (odds ratio [OR] =4.37; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.61–7.31); 2) complications (OR =6.73; 95% CI: 4.26–10.62); 3) mortality (OR =2.68; 95% CI: 1.72–4.18); and 4) ICU length of stay >14 days (OR =5.18, 95% CI: 2.43–11.06).
Conclusion: Malnutrition risk is highly prevalent among elderly ICU patients, especially among severely ill patients with malignancy admitted to the emergency ward. ICU elderly patients at malnutrition risk will have higher complication and infection rates, longer duration of ICU stay, and increased mortality. Efforts should be made to implement a variety of nutritional care strategies, to change the nutritional practices not only at ward level, but nationally, according to the best clinical practice and recent guidelines.

Keywords: elderly ICU patients, ICU mortality, morbidity, malnutrition risk

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