26 Nov COPD: Nutritional Supplements Improved Outcomes and Reduced Costs
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Hegazi: This study stems from the need to address the financial and health burdens that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) places on the United States. It is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and costs us about $50 billion a year. It’s a devastating and chronic condition that plagues patients on a daily basis, and previous studies have shown that proper nutrition is essential for proper pulmonary function and rehabilitation.
In a retrospective study of inpatient medical records, we found that by ensuring the nutritional needs of COPD patients were met with oral nutritional supplements (ONS), we were able to tackle the issue of cost, as well as better health outcomes. Specifically, the COPD patients that received oral nutritional supplements, experienced reduced length of hospitalization, lower average hospital costs, and lower readmission rates within 30 days, compared to those that did not.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Hegazi: I think the most important finding this study discovered is how powerful nutritional screenings and nutritional treatments are for patient recovery, as well as lowering health care costs. Relative to other medical technologies and pharmaceutical interventions, nutrition therapy is much more cost effective for hospitals and patients. We need to shift our thinking towards taking preventive measures and nutrition throughout the continuum of the disease process instead of solving issues retroactively- and that starts with avoiding malnutrition.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Hegazi: Chronic diseases, such as COPD, are not only the leading causes of death worldwide but also a main driver of health care spending. This study gives us a glimpse into how accurate nutrition diagnosis and malnutrition management can benefit chronic disease prognosis and costs. Exploring how these nutritional measures impact costs among patients with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, should be examined as well.
Effect of hospital use of oral nutritional supplementation on length of stay, hospital cost, and 30-day readmissions among Medicare patients with COPD
Chest. 2014 Oct 30. doi: 10.1378/chest.14-1368. [Epub ahead of print]
Thornton Snider J, Jena AB, Linthicum MT, Hegazi RA, Partridge JS, LaVallee C, Lakdawalla DN, Wischmeyer PE.