Predictors of mortality in children hospitalized with severe acute malnutrition

Vinnamangalam Mani Baskaran, Sridevi A. Naaraayan, Dorairaj Priyadharishini


Background: Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children worldwide. Identification of factors contributing to mortality is crucial to decrease the mortality due to SAM. This study aims at identification of factors affecting mortality in hospitalized SAM children.

Methods: This study was done in general pediatric wards of a Government tertiary care center from July 2015 to June 2016. Total 200 children admitted to the hospital with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) as per World Health Organization (WHO) criteria were enrolled. Demographic and clinical data were recorded in structured proforma. These children were followed up till death or discharge and their progress and outcome were noted. The risk factors considered were younger age (infancy), female sex and presence of systemic illness, sepsis, retroviral positivity, severe anaemia, pneumonia and diarrhea and these were compared between those who died and survivors.  Univariate analysis and logistic regression analysis were performed to determine the significant risk factors.

Results: The mortality rate was 10.5%. Presence of systemic illness, sepsis and retroviral positivity were significant risk factors at the end of univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression, while the others were insignificant.

Conclusions: Systemic diseases, sepsis and retroviral disease are poor prognostic features and are risk factors of mortality in hospitalized SAM children.


Mortality, Prognostic factors, Risk factors, Severe acute malnutrition

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