Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) constitute a high-risk population for malnutrition. Routine screening with standardized tools is recommended but can be challenging. Outcome data specific to IBD are sparse.
We performed a retrospective cohort study (2009–2019) and electronically screened a large community-based population with IBD for malnutrition risk by extracting height and longitudinal weight, data elements used in the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST). We used Cox proportional hazards regression to evaluate whether an electronic medical record–derived modified MUST malnutrition risk score was associated with IBD-related hospitalization, surgery, and venous thromboembolism.
Malnutrition risk was categorized as low in 10,844 patients with IBD (86.5%), medium in 1,135 patients (9.1%), and high in 551 patients (4.4%). In the 1-year follow-up period, medium and high malnutrition risks, compared with low risk, were associated with IBD-related hospitalization (medium-risk adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.34–2.42; high-risk aHR 1.90, 95% CI 1.30–2.78) and IBD-related surgery (medium risk aHR 2.28, 95% CI 1.60–3.26; high risk aHR 2.38, 95% CI 1.52–3.73). Only high malnutrition risk was associated with venous thromboembolism (aHR 2.79, 95% CI 1.33–5.87).
Malnutrition risk is significantly associated with IBD-related hospitalization, surgery, and venous thromboembolism. Application of the MUST score to the electronic medical record can efficiently identify patients at risk for malnutrition and adverse outcomes, permitting concentration of nutritional and nonnutritional resources to those at greatest risk.