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Assessing malnutrition - a clarification


Our article on Enteral Feeding1 exaggerated the prevalence of malnutrition in hospital patients. The two surveys we cited used different standards to assess the nutritional status of hospital inpatients,2 3 and neither showed that what was regarded as ‘malnutrition’ actually harmed the patient. It is not known what level of malnutrition impairs wound healing, delays recovery or predisposes to complications. Several studies have related postoperative complications to malnutrition,4 but have failed to distinguish between the effects of malnutrition, and those of age and severe disease (often malignant) which it usually accompanies.

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