Prevalence of Risk Factors for the Refeeding Syndrome in Older Hospitalized Patients

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Pourhassan M, Cuvelier I, Gehrke I, Marburger C, Modreker MK, Volkert D, Willschrei HP, Wirth R
Journal: The journal of nutrition, health & aging
Publication year: 2018
Volume: 22
Journal issue: 3
Pages range: 321-327
ISSN: 1279-7707
eISSN: 1760-4788


The incidence of refeeding syndrome (RFS) in older patients is not well-known. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of known risk factors for RFS in older individuals during hospitalization at geriatric hospital departments.342 consecutive older participants (222 females) who admitted at acute geriatric hospital wards were included in a cross-sectional study. We applied the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) criteria for determining patients at risk of RFS. In addition, Mini Nutritional Assessment Short Form (MNAA (R)-SF) was used to identify patients at risk of malnutrition. Weight and height were assessed. The degree of weight loss was obtained by interview. Serum phosphate, magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, creatinine and urea were analyzed according to standard procedures.Of 342 older participants included in the study (mean age 83.1 +/- 6.8, BMI range of 14.7-43.6 kg/m2), 239 (69.9%) were considered to be at risk of RFS, in which 43.5% and 11.7% were at risk of malnutrition and malnourished, respectively, according to MNA-SF. Patients in the risk group had significantly higher weight loss, lower phosphate and magnesium levels. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, low levels of phosphate and magnesium followed by weight loss were the major risk factors for fulfilling the NICE criteria.The incidence of risk factors for RFS was relatively high in older individuals acutely admitted in geriatric hospital units, suggesting that, RFS maybe more frequent among older persons than we are aware of. Patients with low serum levels of phosphate and magnesium and higher weight loss are at increased risk of RFS. The clinical characteristics of the older participants at risk of RFS indicate that these patients had a relatively poor nutritional status which can help us better understand the potential scale of RFS on admission or during the hospital stay.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Volkert, Dorothee Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
Professur für Klinische Ernährung im Alter

External institutions with authors

Klinikum Christophsbad Göppingen
Malteser Kliniken Rhein-Ruhr
Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB)
Sana HANSE-Klinikum Wismar GmbH

How to cite

Pourhassan, M., Cuvelier, I., Gehrke, I., Marburger, C., Modreker, M.K., Volkert, D.,... Wirth, R. (2018). Prevalence of Risk Factors for the Refeeding Syndrome in Older Hospitalized Patients. The journal of nutrition, health & aging, 22(3), 321-327.

Pourhassan, M., et al. "Prevalence of Risk Factors for the Refeeding Syndrome in Older Hospitalized Patients." The journal of nutrition, health & aging 22.3 (2018): 321-327.


Last updated on 2018-05-11 at 13:38