Hip fractures in the elderly are often the result of low-energy trauma, such as a simple fall at home or on the street. Skeletal muscles are fundamental for mobility and balance. The decrease in muscle mass with increasing age, in combination with a decrease in muscle strength or muscle function, is called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is considered a syndrome that increases the risk of vulnerability and predicts physical functional decline, loss of independence, poor quality of life and life expectancy.
This dissertation shows that hip fracture patients had already experienced a decline in muscle mass before the fall, and that they had to suffer even more muscle mass loss during hospitalization. A deteriorated nutritional status in hip fracture patients is a known problem. This dissertation shows that muscle building with protein-rich nutritional interventions can be stimulated in the elderly with sarcopenia.
Whether nutritional interventions actually result in improved clinical outcomes for hip fracture patients is currently unclear. The effectiveness of nutritional intervention strategies on clinically and physiologically relevant outcome measures in hip fracture patients must be further investigated in the future.
Defence date: 09/05/2019