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Failure to Thrive in Elderly Adults Workup

  • Author: Nadia Ali, MD, MPH, MBBS, ABHIM, FACP; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
 
Updated: Dec 03, 2015
 

Approach Considerations

Multiple coexisting precipitants can lead to malnutrition in persons with failure to thrive. A comprehensive history and physical examination is key to identifying the underlying precipitants. Based on the initial assessment, further workup can be performed to confirm or rule out possible suspected etiologies.

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Laboratory Studies

Based on the history and physical examination, laboratory studies can be performed to further investigate the underlying etiology for failure to thrive. The following is a list of tests and conditions for which these tests may be helpful:[1]

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Imaging Studies

Imaging studies such as radiography and CT scanning can be performed depending on suspected etiologies based on history and examination findings to further investigate and confirm the diagnosis.

Chest radiography can be used to evaluate for infection and/or malignancy.

CT scanning and MRI can be performed to assess for malignancy and/or abscesses.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Nadia Ali, MD, MPH, MBBS, ABHIM, FACP Clinical Assistant Professor, Temple University School of Medicine; Associate Program Director, Department of Internal Medicine, Crozer Chester Medical Center

Nadia Ali, MD, MPH, MBBS, ABHIM, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Pennsylvania Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA Chief of Neurology, Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital; Professor of Neurology, Loyola University Medical Center

Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

References
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  3. Egbert AM. The dwindles: failure to thrive in older patients. Nutr Rev. 1996 Jan; 54(1 Pt 2):S25-30.

  4. Huffman GB. Evaluating and treating unintentional weight loss in the elderly. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Feb 15; 65(4):640-50.

  5. Chen CC, Schilling LS, Lyder CH. A concept analysis of malnutrition in the elderly. J Adv Nurs. 2001 Oct; 36(1):131-42.

  6. Fischer J, Johnson MA. Low body weight and weight loss in the aged. J Am Diet Assoc. 1990 Dec; 90(12):1697-706.

  7. Donini LM, Savina C, Cannella C. Eating habits and appetite control in the elderly: the anorexia of aging. Int Psychogeriatr. 2003 Mar;15(1):73-87.

  8. Yesavage JA, Brink TL, Rose TL, Lum O, Huang V, Adey M, et al. Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: a preliminary report. J Psychiatr Res. 1982-1983; 17(1):37-49.

  9. Mahoney J, Drinka TJ, Abler R, Gunter-Hunt G, Matthews C, Gravenstein S, et al. Screening for depression: single question versus GDS. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1994;42:1006–8.

  10. Dhingra S, Parle M. Non-drug strategies in the management of depression:A comprehensive study of systematic review and metaanalysis of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Neuroscience and Behavioural Health Vol. 3(5), pp. 66-73, May 2011.

  11. Ball K, Berch DB, Helmers KF, Jobe JB, Leveck MD, Marsiske M, et al. Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly Study Group. Effects of cognitive training interventions with older adults: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2002 Nov 13;288(18):2271-81.

  12. Willis SL, Tennstedt SL, Marsiske M, Ball K, Elias J, Koepke KM, et al. Long-term effects of cognitive training on everyday functional outcomes in older adults. JAMA. 2006 Dec 20;296(23):2805-14.

  13. Yeh SS, Lovitt S, Schuster MW. Pharmacological treatment of geriatric cachexia: evidence and safety in perspective. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2007 Jul; 8(6):363-77.

  14. American Geriatrics Society, British Geriatrics Society & American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2001. Guideline for the prevention of falls in older persons. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, vol. 49, no. 5, pp. 664–72.

  15. Kumeliauskas L, Fruetel K, Holroyd-Leduc JM. Evaluation of older adults hospitalized with a diagnosis of failure to thrive. Can Geriatr J. 2013. 16 (2):49-53. [Medline].

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Management of failure to thrive.
 
 
 
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