JOURNAL ARTICLE

Use of the Mini Nutritional Assessment to detect frailty in hospitalised older people

E Dent, R Visvanathan, C Piantadosi, I Chapman
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2012, 16 (9): 764-7
23131818

OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to: (1) determine the prevalence of undernutrition and frailty in hospitalised elderly patients and (2) evaluate the efficacy of both the Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA) screening tool and the MNA short form (MNA-SF) in identifying frailty.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A convenient sample of 100 consecutive patients (75.0 % female) admitted to the Geriatric Evaluation and Management Unit (GEMU) at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in South Australia.

MEASUREMENTS: Frailty status was determined using Fried's frailty criteria and nutritional status by the MNA and MNA-SF. Optimal cut-off scores to predict frailty were determined by Youden's Index, Receiver Operator Curves (ROC) and area under curve (AUC).

RESULTS: Undernutrition was common. Using the MNA, 40.0% of patients were malnourished and 44.0% were at risk of malnutrition. By Fried's classification, 66.0 % were frail, 30.0 % were pre-frail and 4.0 % robust. The MNA had a specificity of 0.912 and a sensitivity of 0.516 in predicting frailty using the recommended cut-off for malnourishment (< 17). The optimal MNA cut-off for frailty screening was <17.5 with a specificity of 0.912 and sensitivity of 0.591. The MNA-SF predicted frailty with specificity and sensitivity values of 0.794 and 0.636 respectively, using the standard cut-off of < 8. The optimal MNA-SF cut-off score for frailty was < 9, with specificity and sensitivity values of 0.765 and 0.803 respectively and was better than the optimum MNA cut-off in predicting frailty (Youden Index 0.568 vs. 0.503).

CONCLUSION: The quickly and easily administered MNA-SF appears to be a good tool for predicting both under-nutrition and frailty in elderly hospitalised people. Further studies would show whether the MNA-SF could also detect frailty in other populations of older people.

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