Background: Although various studies have shown high prevalence of malnutrition in hospitalized patients with stroke, recent studies on how the nutritional status of patients with acute stroke develops during the first weeks of hospital stay are scarce. Information is lacking concerning the identification of patients with stroke who are at risk of malnutrition during an acute hospital stay, because these patients may have a significant chance to improve their nutritional status.
Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of malnutrition and risk of malnutrition of patients with acute stroke during the first 10 days of hospitalization.
Methods: A prospective, descriptive study was conducted in a neurological department of a university hospital in The Netherlands. Seventy-three patients with acute stroke were included, of which 23 patients could be followed up after 10 days. The nutritional status was determined with the Mini Nutritional Assessment at admission and after 10 days.
Results: At admission, 5% of the patients (n = 73) were malnourished, 14% were at risk of malnutrition, and 81% were well nourished. Of the patients who could be followed up (n = 23), at admission, no patients were malnourished, 9% were at risk of malnutrition, and 91% were well nourished; whereas 10 days later, 26% of these patients were malnourished, 39% were at risk of malnutrition, and 35% were well nourished. This means that, within the followed-up group, the proportion of patients with malnutrition or risk of malnutrition increased significantly during hospital stay from 9% to 65%.
Conclusions: Our study shows that the prevalence of malnutrition and risk of malnutrition in patients with acute stroke increases strongly during the first 10 days of admission. Therefore, screening of the nutritional status of these patients throughout this period is highly recommended to enable timely nutritional intervention and nutritional management of these patients.