Validity of Nutritional Screening Tools for Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2019 Oct; 20(10):1351.e13-1351.e25. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2019.06.024. Epub 2019 Aug 10.
Isautier, J., Bosnić, M., Yeung, S., Trappenburg, M. C., Meskers, C., Whittaker, A. C., & Maier, A. B.


Objectives: The aim of this systematic review was to summarize the validity of nutritional screening tools to detect the risk of malnutrition in community-dwelling older adults.

Design: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The protocol for this systematic review was registered in the PROSPERO database (CRD42017072703).

Setting and participants: A literature search was performed in PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane using the combined terms "malnutrition," "aged," "community-dwelling," and "screening." The time frame of the literature reviewed was from January 1, 2001, to May 18, 2018. Older community-dwellers were defined as follows: individuals with a mean/median age of >65 years who were community-dwellers or attended hospital outpatient clinics and day hospitals. All nutritional screening tools that were validated in community-dwelling older adults against a reference standard to detect the risk of malnutrition, or with malnutrition, were included.

Measures: Meta-analyses were performed on the diagnostic accuracy of identified nutritional screening tools validated against the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Long Form (MNA-LF). The symmetric hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic models were used to estimate test performance.

Results: Of 7713 articles, 35 articles were included in the systematic review, and 9 articles were included in the meta-analysis. Seventeen nutritional screening tools and 10 reference standards were identified. The meta-analyses showed average sensitivities and specificities of 0.95 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.75-0.99) and 0.95 (95% CI 0.85-0.99) for the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Short Form (MNA-SF; cutoff point ≤11), 0.85 (95% CI 0.80-0.89) and 0.87 (95% CI 0.86-0.89) for the MNA-SF-V1 (MNA-SF using body mass index, cutoff point ≤11), 0.85 (95% CI 0.77-0.89) and 0.84 (95% CI 0.79-0.87) for the MNA-SF-V2 (MNA-SF using calf circumference instead of body mass, cutoff point ≤11), respectively, using MNA-LF as the reference standard.

Conclusions and implications: The MNA-SF, MNA-SF-V1, and MNA-SF-V2 showed good sensitivity and specificity to detect community-dwelling older adults at risk of malnutrition validated against the MNA-LF. Clinicians should consider the use of the cutoff point ≤11 on the MNA-SF, MNA-SF-V1, and MNA-SF-V2 to identify community-dwelling older adults at risk of malnutrition.

Information NutriBib

Reference work for leading, current and selected literature in the field of clinical nutrition

Publications on clinical nutrition have grown steadily in recent years and the scientific evidence has been improved by numerous observational as well as intervention studies. Various umbrella organisations, such as the Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (GESKES), the German Society for Nutritional Medicine (DGEM) or the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) publish guidelines on nutrition in various clinical situations at regular intervals. Thus, a large amount of literature is available for evidence-based nutritional medicine.

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List of abbreviations

DGEM German Society for Nutritional Medicine (German Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin)
GESKES  Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (German Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz) 
ESPEN European Society of Clinicl Nutrition and Metabolism