Risk, prevalence, and impact of hospital malnutrition in a Tertiary Care Referral University Hospital: a cross-sectional study

Emanuele Rinninella, Marco Cintoni, Antonino De Lorenzo, Giovanni Addolorato, Gabriele Vassallo, Rossana Moroni, Giacinto Abele Donato Miggiano, Antonio Gasbarrini, Maria Cristina Mele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hospital malnutrition is still underestimated among physicians, even in internal medicine settings. This is a cross-sectional study, aiming to estimate the risk, the prevalence and the impact of malnutrition in an Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology Department of a large Italian hospital (Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome). Patients were evaluated within 72 h from admission according to Nutritional Risk Screening-2002 (NRS-2002) and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) Criteria. Anthropometric, laboratory tests and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) derived phase angle were also performed. Length of hospital stay (LOS) and in-hospital mortality were collected. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to correlate nutritional status with LOS and hospital mortality. In 10 months, 300 patients were enrolled: male patients were 172 (57.3%); mean age was 63.7 (± 17.6). At admission, 157 (52.3%) patients were at risk of malnutrition; 116 (38.7%) were malnourished. Malnourished patients had a mean LOS of 11.5 (± 8.0) days, not-malnourished 9.4 (± 6.2) days (p < 0.05). In-hospital mortality did not significantly differ between the two groups. Multivariate analysis shows that both malnutrition (p = 0.04; 95% CI 0.03–3.41) and phase angle (p = 0.004; 95% CI − 1.92 to − 0.37) independently correlate with LOS. In an Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology Department, over half (52.3%) of the patients were found at risk of malnutrition, and over a third (38.7%) were malnourished at hospital admission. Malnutrition and BIA-derived phase angle are independently associated with LOS. ESPEN Criteria and phase angle could be performed at admission to identify patients deserving specific nutritional support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-697
Number of pages9
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018


  • ESPEN Criteria
  • Hospital malnutrition
  • Hospital mortality
  • Length of hospital stay
  • NRS-2002
  • Personalized medicine
  • Phase angle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine


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