Evaluation of a nutrition-risk screening tool in Lao PDR: Identifying malnutrition in a low-resource clinical setting

Hannah Wilson, Joanna Cummings, Slackchay Rasprasith, Diane Stadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background & aims: Malnutrition is a top priority in Lao PDR. In 2017, 33% of children under five years of age were stunted, 21.1% were underweight, 9% were wasted while 16.6% of adults in community settings were malnourished. Rates of malnutrition are presumed to be higher among hospitalized patients however, malnutrition risk screening in inpatient settings does not occur in Lao PDR. To address this gap, this study aimed to determine the prevalence of malnutrition among hospitalized patients and investigated the inter-user reliability and validity of a nutrition-risk screening tool (NRST). Methods: A cross-sectional study of pediatric (n = 69) and adult (n = 125) patients was conducted at two hospitals in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Inter-observer reliability of the NRST was determined by comparing final scores of two independent observers. Validity of the NRST was determined using sensitivity, specificity, and area-under-the-receiver-operating-characteristics (ROC) curve analyses. Results: Among participants 0–4 years of age, 51% were diagnosed with malnutrition, while 58% of participants aged 5–17 years were malnourished. Among participants 18 years of age or older, 47% were diagnosed with moderate to severe malnutrition. The NRST showed ‘fair’ agreement between Observer 1 and Observer 2 NRST final scores (0.2737, p-value <0.001). Observer 1 and Observer 2 had a 64% and 70% probability of correctly distinguishing a malnourished from a not malnourished participant. The Lao NRST had a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity 35%. Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of malnutrition among hospitalized patients in Lao PDR. This study provides proof of concept that a nutrition-risk screening tool can be successfully administered in a low-resource setting. Timely identification of malnutrition among newly admitted hospitalized patients will help minimize adverse patient health outcomes and reduce the economic burden of healthcare in Lao PDR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Nutrition ESPEN
Volume38
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Clinical nutrition
  • Lao PDR
  • Low-resource
  • Malnutrition
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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