High risk of malnutrition is associated with low muscle mass in older hospitalized patients - a prospective cohort study

Vincent D. Pierik, Carel G.M. Meskers, Jeanine M. Van Ancum, Siger T. Numans, Sjors Verlaan, Kira Scheerman, Roeliene C. Kruizinga, Andrea B. Maier

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BACKGROUND: Malnutrition, low muscle strength and muscle mass are highly prevalent in older hospitalized patients and associated with adverse outcomes. Malnutrition may be a risk factor for developing low muscle mass. We aimed to investigate the association between the risk of malnutrition and 1) muscle strength and muscle mass at admission and 2) the change of muscle strength and muscle mass during hospitalization in older patients.

METHODS: The EMPOWER study included 378 patients aged seventy years or older who were acutely or electively admitted to four different wards of an academic teaching hospital in Amsterdam. Patients were grouped into low risk of malnutrition and high risk of malnutrition based on the Short Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire (SNAQ) score and were assessed for hand grip strength and muscle mass using hand held dynamometry respectively bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) within 48 h after admission and at day seven, or earlier at the day of discharge. Muscle mass was expressed as skeletal muscle mass, appendicular lean mass, fat free mass and the skeletal muscle index.

RESULTS: The mean age of the patients was 79.7 years (SD 6.39), 48.9% were female. At admission, being at high risk of malnutrition was significantly associated with lower muscle mass (Odds Ratio, 95% CI, 0.90, 0.85-0.96), but not with muscle strength. Muscle strength and muscle mass did not change significantly during hospitalization in both groups.

CONCLUSION: In older hospitalized patients, a high risk of malnutrition is associated with lower muscle mass at admission, but not with muscle strength nor with change of either muscle strength or muscle mass during hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBMC geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2017


  • Aged
  • Hospitalization
  • Malnutrition
  • Muscle strength
  • Sarcopenia
  • Skeletal muscle

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