AIM: The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics and the nutritional approaches implemented with patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of medical records for patients admitted to a tertiary hospital for alcohol withdrawal was completed over a 5-year period 2013-2017. Data on nutrition-related assessment and management were extracted and descriptively analysed. RESULTS: A total of 109 medical records were included (M = 73, F = 36), with the mean age of patients 47.3 years (SD ± 11.2, range 22-70). The average length of stay was 3.7 days (SD ± 3.9, range 0.70-27.8). Approaches towards nutritional care emerged from micronutrient assessment and supplementation and/or dietetic consultation. Nutrition-related biochemistry data was available for most patients, notably serum levels of sodium, urea and creatinine (102 patients; 93.5%) and magnesium and phosphate (66 patients, 60.5%). There was evidence of some electrolyte abnormalities on admission to hospital. Eight patients had serum micronutrient status assessed; no patients had serum thiamine levels assessed. Parenteral thiamine was provided to 96 patients (88.0%) for 1.9 days (SD ± 1.1, range 1.0-6.0) with a mean dose of 2458.7 mg (SD ± 1347.6, range 300-6700 mg). Multivitamin supplementation was provided to 24 patients (22.0%). Only 23 patients (21.2%) were seen by a dietician of whom 16 underwent a comprehensive nutritional assessment and 3 were screened using the malnutrition screening tool. CONCLUSION: Inconsistent nutritional assessment and management practices were identified across a diverse population group, whilst nutritional professionals were underutilized. Future research should benchmark current guidelines and multidisciplinary approaches considering the role of nutritional specialists in the team.
Available for download on Tuesday, July 06, 2021