PhD defence - Maren Johanne Heilskov Rytter

Maren Johanne Heilskov Rytter is defending her PhD thesis

In-patient treatment of severe acute malnutrition

- immune function, œdema and survival


13 March 2015, 13:00


Festauditoriet 1-01, Bülowsvej 17, 1870 Frederiksberg


Associate Professor Thomas Thymann (chair), Department of Veterinary Clinical and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Doctor Marko Kerac, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Professor Per Ashorn, Univesity of Tampere, Finland


Professor Henrik Friis, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Professor Kim Fleischer Michaelsen, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Afdelingslæge, Adjungeret Lektor Vibeke Brix Christensen, Rigshospitalet, Denmark

About the thesis

Severe acute malnutrition is a serious health problem among children in low-income countries. Particularly malnourished children requiring in-hospital treatment are at high risk of dying.

This dissertation investigates possible reasons for this high mortality, by following a group of 120 children during their in-hospital treatment of severe acute malnutrition at Mwanamugimu Nutrition Unit in Kampala, Uganda.

We assessed how malnutrition affected the children’s immune system, by measuring the size of their thymus gland with ultrasound. We examined characteristics of children with the serious form of malnutrition, Kwashiorkor, where the children develop oedema. Finally, we explored symptoms, findings or treatments given that were associated with a higher risk of death in the children. Hopefully, these findings may contribute to improving the treatment offered to children with severe acute malnutrition.

2015, 203 pages, ISBN 978 87 7611 852 5