Screening Malnutrition in Hospital Outpatients. Can the SNAQ Malnutrition Screening Tool also Be Applied to this Population?

Clinical Nutrition. 2008 Jun; 27(3):439-46. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2008.02.002. Epub 2008 Apr 18.
Neelemaat, F., Kruizenga, H. M., de Vet, H. C., Seidell, J. C., Butterman, M., & van Bokhorst-de van der Schueren, M. A.


Background & aims: It is known from earlier studies that only 15% of the malnourished hospital outpatient population is recognized and receives nutritional treatment. To increase this number, a quick and easy malnutrition screening tool would be helpful. Because such a tool is lacking, we developed one by using the SNAQ (Short Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire) as a basis. The aim of this study was to develop a quick and easy malnutrition screening tool and to measure its diagnostic accuracy in malnourished hospital outpatients.

Methods: First, an optimal set of questions was selected for the preoperative outpatient population. Secondly, the diagnostic accuracy for the preoperative outpatients was determined (979 patients) and finally, the diagnostic accuracy for general hospital outpatients was established (705 patients).

Results: The three original SNAQ questions proved to be the best set of questions for the outpatient population as well. In the preoperative and general outpatient population the diagnostic accuracy resulted respectively in a sensitivity of 53% and 67%, a specificity of 97% and 98%, a positive predictive value of 69% and 72% and a negative predictive value of 94% and 97%.

Conclusions: With an acceptable diagnostic accuracy it may be concluded that the original SNAQ malnutrition screening tool is valid for the hospital outpatient population.

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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