Malnutrition, sarcopenia, and frailty are prevalent conditions amongst hospitalized elderly. They are associated with numerous adverse health outcomes. The co-existence of these problems is common, with malnutrition playing a major role in the pathogenesis of the other two. Whether nutritional screening tools are useful for frailty and sarcopenia screening needs further evaluation.
To evaluate the accuracy of the Geriatric Nutritional Risk Index (GNRI) in identifying frailty and sarcopenia in hospitalized older adults.
One hundred and fifty hospitalized patients (≥ 60 years) were recruited. Skeletal Muscle Index was obtained using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Muscle strength and physical performance were measured by handgrip strength and timed up and go test, respectively. GNRI and the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) tool were used for nutritional assessment.
GNRI had lower sensitivity but higher specificity compared to MNA in predicting frailty and dynapenia. GNRI discriminated the presence of sarcopenia but not pre-sarcopenia (AUC = 0.683, p = 0.02, and AUC = 0.586, p = 0.12), while MNA did not discriminate the presence of pre-sarcopenia nor sarcopenia in the studied sample (AUC = 0.56, p = 0.25 and AUC = 0.6, p = 0.09).
Sarcopenia, frailty, and malnutrition coexisted in 26% of our sample. GNRI Score at ≤ 86.73 was 71.9% sensitive and 65.6% specific for detecting frailty and its score at ≤ 89.04 was 64.42% sensitive and 63.53% specific for detecting sarcopenia. GNRI is a simple method, which could be used for sarcopenia, and frailty screening in all elders attending primary care settings where other tools for assessing muscle mass are unavailable.