British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Nutritional status of hospitalized acute stroke patients

Salah E. Gariballaa1 c1, Stuart G. Parkera2, Nick Tauba3 and Mark Castledena2

a1 The Hayward Building, Selly Oak Hospital, Raddlebarn Road, Birmingham B29 6JD, UK

a2 University Division of Medicine for the Elderly, Leicester General Hospital, Gwendolen Road, Leicester LE5 4PW, UK

a3 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Leicester, 22-24 Princess Road West, Leicester LEI 6TP, UK


The nutritional status of 201 hospitalized stroke patients was assessed from anthropometric, haematological and biochemical data in an observational prospective study. On admission, sixty-two (31%) stroke patients had BMI < 20, ninety-nine (49%) had a triceps skinfolds thickness below the 25th centile, twenty-five (12%) had a mid-arm circumference below the 25th centile and thirty-eight (19%) had a serum albumin concentration below 35 g/1. Baseline nutritional status was worse among those who later died or remained in hospital compared with those discharged and most patients who remained in hospital showed marked and significant deterioration in all measures of nutritional status within 4 weeks of hospitalization. After adjusting for age, stroke severity and co-morbidity, low serum albumin concentrations of these patients in hospital were a strong and independent predictor of death following acute stroke (odds ratio 1.13 (95% CI 1.01−1.27) for 1 g/1 lower serum albumin concentration).

(Received July 29 1997)

(Revised December 29 1997)

(Accepted January 15 1998)