Nutritional status of elderly patients during recovery from chest infection and the role of nutritional supplementation assessed by a prospective randomized single-blind trial

Age Ageing. 1994 Jan;23(1):40-8. doi: 10.1093/ageing/23.1.40.


We examined changes in the nutritional status of elderly patients with chest infection for a period of 3 months after discharge from hospital, including the effects of nutritional supplementation on well-being and functional status as well as on nutritional indices. Eighty-one subjects admitted to an acute medical ward aged 65 years and over with chest infection were recruited consecutively, and randomized to receive supplement (500 ml of Ensure liquid daily) for 1 month, or no supplement, on discharge. Assessment at baseline, 1, 2 and 3 months included a questionnaire to determine health, mental and functional status, and anthropometric measurements. Biochemical nutritional status was assessed at baseline, 1 and 3 months, and dietary intake (24 h recall method) at 1 and 3 months. During recovery, both supplement and non-supplement groups showed improvement in various measures of well-being and biochemical status. In addition, the former group showed improvement in more anthropometric measurements, in thiamine and pyridoxine status, while the non-supplement group showed a lower level of functional ability after 3 months. Various measures of well-being and biochemical status of the water-soluble vitamins were better in the supplement groups. We conclude that nutritional supplementation may have a role in helping elderly patients to recover from chest infections.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Sucrose*
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Female
  • Food, Formulated
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Pneumonia / diet therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Ensure formulated food