Health economic impact of managing patients following a community-based diagnosis of malnutrition in the UK

Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;30(4):422-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Mar 13.


Background & aims: To examine the effect of malnutrition on clinical outcomes and healthcare resource use from initial diagnosis by a general practitioner (GP) in the UK.

Methods: 1000 records of malnourished patients were randomly selected from The Health Improvement Network database and matched with a sample of 996 patients' records with no previous history of malnutrition. Patients' outcomes and resource use were quantified for six months following diagnosis.

Results: Malnourished patients utilised significantly more healthcare resources (e.g. 18.90 versus 9.12 GP consultations; p < 0.001, and 13% versus 5% were hospitalised; p < 0.05). The six-monthly cost of managing the malnourished and non-malnourished group was £1753 and £750 per patient respectively, generating an incremental cost of care following a diagnosis of malnutrition of £1003 per patient. Thirteen percent and 2% of patients died in the malnourished and non-malnourished group respectively (p < 0.001). Independent predictors of mortality were: malnutrition (OR: 7.70); age (per 10 years) (OR: 10.46); and the Charlson Comorbidity Index Score (per unit score) (OR: 1.24).

Conclusion: The healthcare cost of managing malnourished patients was more than twice that of managing non-malnourished patients, due to increased use of healthcare resources. After adjusting for age and comorbidity, malnutrition remained an independent predictor of mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Budgets
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Resources
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis*
  • Malnutrition / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs / economics*
  • United Kingdom