Refeeding Syndrome: What is the Knowledge of Medical Students in their Last Semester?

Bauer, Mirjam; Dolder, Andrea; Stanga, Zeno; Kurmann, Silvia (2021). Refeeding Syndrome: What is the Knowledge of Medical Students in their Last Semester? Aktuelle Ernährungsmedizin, 46(04), pp. 233-239. Georg Thieme Verlag 10.1055/a-1261-9010

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Background Refeeding syndrome (RFS) is a metabolic reaction caused by inadequate refeeding after starvation. It is associated with electrolyte and fluid shifts. Severe consequences such as cardiac arrhythmia and death are possible. Prevention entails risk detection and adequate nutritional management. Several studies point to inadequate knowledge of physicians. No data is available for Switzerland. This trial aimed to investigate the knowledge on RFS of medical students in their last semester in German speaking Switzerland. Material and Methods The knowledge of medical students was tested using an online questionnaire including 15 multiple-choice questions. The maximum total score was 20 points. Results were evaluated using standard Swiss educational grading system (best grade 6,worst grade 1). A minimum of 60% total score was needed for a satisfactory result (grade 4). Results Ninety-seven of 540 students answered the questionnaire, which corresponds to a response rate of 14.6%. The students achieved an average score of 9.9 points (50% of the total score). 53% of the students showed insufficient knowledge. The RFS was unknown to nine of 79 students (11.4%). Conclusion The knowledge of Swiss medical students on RFS is unsatisfactory and should be optimized. In clinical practice, a nutritional screening with a validated tool is recommended in all inpatients. Patients at risk for malnutrition should be referred to a dietitian for nutritional assessment. The dietitian recognizes the risk of RFS and may subsequently plan nutritional management in collaboration with the treating physicists. A well-functioning multiprofessional collaboration is essential to prevent complications.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > Nutrition and Dietetics


Bauer, Mirjam;
Dolder, Andrea;
Stanga, Zeno and
Kurmann, Silvia


Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)




Georg Thieme Verlag




Silvia Kurmann

Date Deposited:

25 Aug 2021 10:44

Last Modified:

25 Aug 2021 10:44

Publisher DOI:





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