Efficacy of Nutritional Intervention in Elderly After Hip Fracture: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial

Caroline E. Wyers, Petronella L. M. Reijven, Jose J. L. Breedveld-Peters, Karlijn F. M. Denissen, Martijn G. M. Schotanus, Martien C. J. M. van Dongen, Simone J. P. M. Eussen, Ide C. Heyligers, Piet A. van den Brandt, Paul C. Willems, Svenhjalmar van Helden, Pieter C. Dagnelie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Malnutrition after hip fracture is associated with increased rehabilitation time, complications, and mortality. We assessed the effect of intensive 3 month nutritional intervention in elderly after hip fracture on length of stay (LOS).

Methods: Open-label, randomized controlled trial. Exclusion criteria: age < 55 years, bone disease, life expectancy < 1 year, bedridden, using oral nutritional supplements (ONS) before hospitalization, and cognitive impairment. Intervention: weekly dietetic consultation, energy-protein-enriched diet, and ONS (400 mL per day) for 3 months. Control: usual nutritional care. Primary outcome: total LOS in hospital and rehabilitation clinic, including readmissions over 6 months (Cox regression adjusted for confounders); hazard ratio (HR) < 1.0 reflects longer LOS in the intervention group. Secondary outcomes: nutritional and functional status, cognition, quality of life, postoperative complications (6 months); subsequent fractures and all-cause mortality (1 and 5 years). Effect modification by baseline nutritional status was also tested.

Results: One hundred fifty-two patients were randomized (73 intervention, 79 control). Median total LOS was 34.0 days (range 4-185 days) in the intervention group versus control 35.5 days (3-183 days; plogrank = .80; adjusted hazard ratio (adjHR): 0.98; 95% CI: 0.68-1.41). Hospital LOS: 12.0 days (4-56 days) versus 11.0 days (3-115 days; p = .19; adjHR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.53-1.06) and LOS in rehabilitation clinics: 19.5 days (0-174 days) versus 18.5 days (0-168 days; p = .82; adjHR: 1.04; 95% CI: 0.73-1.48). The intervention improved nutritional intake/status at 3, but not at 6 months, and did not affect any other outcome. No difference in intervention effect between malnourished and well-nourished patients was found.

Conclusions: Intensive nutritional intervention after hip fracture improved nutritional intake and status, but not LOS or clinical outcomes. Paradigms underlying nutritional intervention in elderly after hip fracture may have to be reconsidered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1437
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series A-Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2018


  • Oral nutritional supplementation
  • Dietetic counselling
  • Length of stay
  • Postoperative complications
  • Nutritional status
  • NECK

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