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Malnutrition in Hospitalized Patients Associated With Higher Costs, Longer Stays & Increased Mortality

1.95 million hospital stays involved malnutrition in 2013 (abstract image of a patient in a hospital bed)

Malnutrition is associated with:

  • Economic burden: Hospital stays involving malnutrition accounted for $42 billion (abstract image of a price tag with a dollar symbol on it)
  • Human cost: Most malnutrition-related stays have a substantially higher proportion of in-hospital deaths—1.5 to 5 times higher than those unrelated to malnutrition (abstract image of the head and upper body of three individuals)
  • Longer hospital stays: Most hospital stays were 2 times longer. 41% to 71% of patients with malnutrition did not have a routine discharge (abstract image of a hospital)

Rate of malnutrition is highest:

  • In lowest income communities (abstract image of two apartment buildings)
  • Older adults (abstract image of an older couple walking, with the man using a cane)

(bar chart for malnutrition-related hospital stays per 100,000 population by community income)

  • Lowest-income communities: 769 stays
  • Highest-income communities: 462 stays

(bar chart for malnutrition-related hospital stays per 100,000 population by age group)

  • 85+ years: 5,882 stays
  • 65-84 years: 2,184 stays
  • Under 65 years: 815 stays

Understand the impact of malnutrition.

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Source: Weiss AJ, Fingar KR, Barrett ML, Elixhauser A, Steiner CA, Guenter P, Hise Brown M. Characteristics of Hospital Stays Involving Malnutrition, 2013. HCUP Statistical Brief #210.

Publication date: September 20, 2016

Internet Citation: Malnutrition. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). September 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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Last modified 9/22/16