Background & aims: The confounding effect of disease on the outcomes of malnutrition using diagnosis-related groups (DRG) has never been studied in a multidisciplinary setting. This study aims to determine the prevalence of malnutrition in a tertiary hospital in Singapore and its impact on hospitalization outcomes and costs, controlling for DRG.
Methods: This prospective cohort study included a matched case control study. Subjective Global Assessment was used to assess the nutritional status on admission of 818 adults. Hospitalization outcomes over 3 years were adjusted for gender, age, ethnicity, and matched for DRG.
Results: Malnourished patients (29%) had longer hospital stays (6.9±7.3 days vs. 4.6±5.6 days, p<0.001) and were more likely to be readmitted within 15 days (adjusted relative risk=1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.2, p=0.025). Within a DRG, the mean difference between actual cost of hospitalization and the average cost for malnourished patients was greater than well-nourished patients (p=0.014). Mortality was higher in malnourished patients at 1 year (34% vs. 4.1 %), 2 years (42.6% vs. 6.7%) and 3 years (48.5% vs. 9.9%); p<0.001 for all. Overall, malnutrition was a significant predictor of mortality (adjusted hazard ratio=4.4, 95% CI 3.3-6.0, p<0.001).
Conclusions: Malnutrition was evident in up to one third of the inpatients and led to poor hospitalization outcomes and survival as well as increased costs of care, even after matching for DRG. Strategies to prevent and treat malnutrition in the hospital and post-discharge are needed.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. All rights reserved.