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Learning More About Disease-Related Malnutrition

Expert opinions on the impact of disease-related malnutrition

During the annual congress of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN), several experts were interviewed to gather their insights into the subject of disease-related malnutrition. They emphasized that this is often overlooked and has a significant impact on both patients and hospitals’ budgets. During critical illness, a patient’s metabolism changes and they are at a higher risk of developing malnutrition. This affects their recovery time and, in turn, increases the investment of hospital resources. Some of the experts that provided thoughts on the subject are:

  • Dr. Mario Ignacio Perman: intensivist at the Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Dr. Dan Linetzky Waitzberg, MD, PhD: gastrointestinal surgeon and nutrologist at the School of Medicine at the University of São Paulo, Brazil
  • Dr. Alfredo Matos Adames, MD: professor of clinical nutrition and surgery at the School of Medicine at the University of Panama

The ESPEN Congress is a yearly convention that covers several topics in the fields of parenteral and enteral nutrition and recently gathered more than 3,000 participants from 82 different countries worldwide. In September 2015, Lisbon held the annual ESPEN Congress, in which a series of interviews were conducted with well-known experts from Latin America. Below you will find videos and more insights into these experts’ thoughts and ideas.

What impact does disease-related malnutrition have on patients and hospitals in Latin America?

Dr. Mario Ignacio Perman:
Due to malnutrition, the immunological response to fight, prevent and cure infections is reduced. The function of the liver, as well as the kidney, the intestine and the lungs is altered. These functional changes in all organs, tissues and systems will have consequences. And when the patient is discharged from the hospital, they will probably need to be admitted again or will have to use other health system resources.

Dr. Dan Linetzky Waitzberg:
We have the data from the Brazilian study, conducted by the Brazilian Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, which tells us that malnourished patients cost an average between 60% and 300% more than well-nourished ones. This same study showed us that malnourished patients had a complication rate of 46% higher than well-nourished patients, and mortality was also 2.6 times higher.

Dr. Alfredo Matos Adames:
Without a doubt, malnutrition is a huge burden that no one identifies with. They don’t realize that the costs, length of hospital stay, and the investment of human resources triple or even quadruple in the maintenance of malnourished patients. It’s an incredible amount of resources that are lost.

Dr. Mario Ignacio Perman interview where he provides insights into disease-related malnutrition

Dr. Dan Linetzky Waitzberg interview where he provides insights into disease-related malnutrition

Dr. Alfredo Matos Adames interview where he provides insights into disease-related malnutrition