• Accuracy of MUAC in the detection of severe wasting with the new WHO growth standards.

      Fernández, M A L; Delchevalerie, P; Van Herp, M; Medical Department, Brussels Operational Center, Doctors Without Borders, Brussels, Belgium. miguel.angel.luque@brussels.msf.org (2010-07)
      OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to estimate the accuracy of using mid-upper-arm circumference (MUAC) measurements to diagnose severe wasting by comparing the new standards from the World Health Organization (WHO) with those from the US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and to analyze the age independence of the MUAC cutoff values for both curves. METHODS: We used cross-sectional anthropometric data for 34,937 children between the ages of 6 and 59 months, from 39 nutritional surveys conducted by Doctors Without Borders. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to examine the accuracy of MUAC diagnoses. MUAC age independence was analyzed with logistic regression models. RESULTS: With the new WHO curve, the performance of MUAC measurements, in terms of sensitivity and specificity, deteriorated. With different cutoff values, however, the WHO standards significantly improved the predictive value of MUAC measurements over the NCHS standards. The sensitivity and specificity of MUAC measurements were the most age independent when the WHO curve, rather than the NCHS curve, was used. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the need to change the MUAC cutoff value from <110 mm to <115 mm. This increase of 5 mm produces a large change in sensitivity (from 16% to 25%) with little loss in specificity, improves the probability of diagnosing severe wasting, and reduces false-negative results by 12%. This change is needed to maintain the same diagnostic accuracy as the old curve and to identify the children at greatest risk of death resulting from severe wasting.
    • Anthropometric Indices Used for the Diagnosis of Malnutrition in Adolescents and Adults: Review of the Literature

      Dorlencourt, F; Priem, V; Legros, D; Epicentre, 4 rue St Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. (2000-01)
      The International Dietary Energy Consultative Group, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), has done most of the research conducted in the field of adult malnutrition in the late 1980's. These studies were carried out mainly in populations suffering from chronic malnutrition, and led to the current WHO recommendations for the diagnosis and classification of adult malnutrition. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the gold standard to be used in adults, with the following cut-off points identified: 16.0, 17.0 and 18.5. The good correlation observed between BMI and Middle Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) led to the determination of corresponding cut-off points. However, the very few field studies available in the literature are in favor of a lowering of the BMI cut-off points during nutritional emergencies. Several questions need to be answered through field research, mainly concerning the type of indicator best predicting the risk of death, and the type of indicator to be used in adolescents, pregnant women and older people.
    • Impact of the shift from NCHS growth reference to WHO(2006) growth standards in a therapeutic feeding programme in Niger.

      Minetti, A; Shams Eldin, M; Defourny, I; Harczi, G; Epicentre, 75011 Paris, France. andrea.minetti@epicentre.msf.org (2009-10)
      OBJECTIVES: To describe the implementation of the WHO(2006) growth standards in a therapeutic feeding programme. METHODS: Using programme monitoring data from 21,769 children 6-59 months admitted to the Médecins Sans Frontières therapeutic feeding programme during 2007, we compared characteristics at admission, type of care and outcomes for children admitted before and after the shift to the WHO(2006) standards. Admission criteria were bipedal oedema, MUAC <110 mm, or weight-for-height (WFH) of <-70% of the median (NCHS) before mid-May 2007, and WFH <-3 z score (WHO(2006)) after mid-May 2007. RESULTS: Children admitted with the WHO(2006) standards were more likely to be younger, with a higher proportion of males, and less malnourished (mean WFH -3.6 z score vs. mean WFH -4.6 z score). They were less likely to require hospitalization or intensive care (28.4%vs. 77%; 12.8%vs. 36.5%) and more likely to be treated exclusively on an outpatient basis (71.6%vs. 23%). Finally, they experienced better outcomes (cure rate: 89%vs. 71.7%, death rate: 2.7%vs. 6.4%, default rate: 6.7%vs. 12.3%). CONCLUSIONS: In this programme, the WHO(2006) standards identify a larger number of malnourished children at an earlier stage of disease facilitating their treatment success.