The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 407–410 | Cite as

Scurvy in hospitalized elderly patients

  • A. Raynaud-Simon
  • J. Cohen-Bittan
  • A. Gouronnec
  • E. Pautas
  • P. Senet
  • M. Verny
  • J. Boddaert
JNHA: NUtrition



The aim of this study was to systematically screen hospitalized elderly patients for clinical symptoms of scurvy and to confirm the diagnosis with biological measures.


Geriatric acute care ward.


Scurvy symptoms (one or more among perifollicular hyperkeratosis, petechiae or bruises, haemorrhagic features caused by venous puncture, severe gingivitis). We compared associated diseases, nutritional status, need for assistance for feeding, serum albumin, transthyretin, B9 and B12 vitamins, iron status and Serum Ascorbic Acid Level (SAAL) and outcome (in-hospital mortality) between scurvy and scurvy free patients.


18 patients with clinical symptoms of scurvy (scurvy group) were identified out of 145 consecutive patients (12%). They were compared to 23 consecutive control patients with no clinical symptoms of scurvy (scurvy-free group). SAAL was significantly lower (1.09 ± 1.06 vs 4.87 ± 4.2 mg.L-1, p<.001) and vitamin C deficiency more frequent (94 vs 30 %, p<.001) in the scurvy group. Moreover, in scurvy group, coronary heart disease (39 vs 9 %, p=.028), need for assistance for feeding (56 vs 13 %, p=.006) and in-hospital deaths (44 vs 9 %, p=.012) were more frequent.


Ninety-four percent of patients with clinical symptoms of scurvy had vitamin C deficiency. Our results suggest that in hospitalized elderly patients, clinical symptoms allow scurvy diagnosis. Scurvy could be a frequent disease in elderly patients admitted to acute geriatric ward.

Key words

Scurvy malnutrition older adults 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer Verlag France 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Raynaud-Simon
    • 1
  • J. Cohen-Bittan
    • 2
  • A. Gouronnec
    • 3
  • E. Pautas
    • 3
  • P. Senet
    • 4
  • M. Verny
    • 2
  • J. Boddaert
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Service de gériatrieHôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard and Faculté de Médecine Denis DiderotParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre de gériatrieCHU Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris and UPMC Paris 6ParisFrance
  3. 3.Unité de gériatrie aiguëHôpital Charles Foix, Ivry sur Seine and UPMC Paris 6ParisFrance
  4. 4.Unité de Nutrition GériatriqueHôpital Charles Foix, Ivry sur Seine and UPMP Paris 6, Assistance-Publique Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP)ParisFrance
  5. 5.Centre de gériatrieHôpital Pitié-SalpêtrièreParis cedex 13France

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