Prevalence of malnutrition and sarcopenia in a post-acute care geriatric unit: Applying the new ESPEN definition and EWGSOP criteria

Dolores Sánchez-Rodríguez, Ester Marco, Natalia Ronquillo-Moreno, Ramón Miralles, Olga Vázquez-Ibar, Ferran Escalada, Josep M. Muniesa

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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Backgrounds & aims The European Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) consensus definition of malnutrition has been applied in hospitalized older diabetics and middle-aged patients, geriatric outpatients, and healthy elderly and young individuals. In a post-acute care setting, our aim was to assess malnutrition (ESPEN definition) and determine its relationship with sarcopenia in older in-patients deconditioned due to an acute process. Methods Eighty-eight in-patients aged ≥70 years with body mass index (BMI) <30 kg/m2were included (84.1 years old; 62% women) and screened for malnutrition risk using biochemical markers and Mini-Nutritional Assessment-Short Form (MNA-SF). The ESPEN definition was applied: 1) BMI <18.5 kg/m2or 2) unintentional weight loss plus a) low BMI or b) low fat-free mass index (FFMI). European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) criteria were also applied. Results Unintentional weight loss occurred in 27 (30.7%) of 88 in-patients considered “at risk” by MNA-SF. Malnutrition prevalence was 4.5%, 7.9%, and 17% using ESPEN definitions 1, 2a, and 2b, respectively; 19.3% were malnourished. Prevalence of sarcopenia was 37.5%, of which 90.9% fulfilled ESPEN malnutrition criteria, a significant association (p = 0.02). No differences in biochemical markers were observed between patients with or without malnutrition or sarcopenia. Conclusions ESPEN criteria constitute an appropriate tool to establish a malnutrition diagnosis in post-acute care. Sarcopenia, as defined by EWGSOP, was present in 37.5% of patients, of which 90.9% fulfilled ESPEN criteria; therefore, malnutrition was significantly related to sarcopenia. Additional work is needed to determine further implications of the ESPEN consensus definition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1339-1344
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • ESPEN criteria
  • Malnutrition
  • Older people
  • Post-acute
  • Sarcopenia


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