a1 Parkinson Institute, Istituti Clinici di Perfezionamento (ICP), via Bignami 1, 20126 Milan, Italy
a2 Nutrition and Dietetics Service, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Viale Golgi 19, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Dysautonomia symptoms of nutritional interest may often occur in Parkinson's disease (PD), but the role played in affecting the risk of malnutrition still needs to be clarified. A total of 208 consecutive PD outpatients hospitalised on a scheduled basis were assessed for nutritional risk by the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool. Presence of dysautonomia symptoms (dysphagia, sialorrhoea and constipation) was investigated using clinical rating scales. In our population, prevalence of nutritional risk was 17·2 (95 % CI 12·1, 24·0) % and relied mainly on unintentional weight loss. Sialorrhoea, dysphagia, dysphagia to liquids and constipation were observed in 10·6, 11·0, 14·4 and 59·6 % of the patients, respectively. Nutritional risk was independently associated with the number of dysautonomia symptoms (OR 1·39 (95 % CI 1·00, 1·96); P= 0·048) but not with single symptoms. An independent association was also found with the severity of motor symptoms (Hoehn–Yahr stage, OR 1·48 (95 % CI 1·00, 2·55); P= 0·049) and levodopa dose (OR 1·16 (95 % CI 1·04, 1·31) mg/kg per d; P= 0·009). Nutritional risk in PD outpatients appears to depend mainly on dysautonomic syndrome, disease severity and levodopa dosage. Implications for outcome deserve further investigation. The assessment of nutritional status and of gastrointestinal dysautonomia symptoms should be part of the routine work-up of a PD patient.
(Received May 18 2012)
(Revised September 20 2012)
(Accepted September 20 2012)
(Online publication December 11 2012)
Abbreviations: MUST, Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool; PD, Parkinson's disease; WL, weight loss