Aspiration pneumonia in old patients with dementia. Prognostic factors of mortality


Bosch X, Formiga F, Cuerpo S, Torres B, Rosón B, López-Soto A.

Eur J Intern Med. 2012 Sep 7. [Epub ahead of print]



Prognostic factors of mortality in elderly patients with dementia with aspiration pneumonia (AP) are scarcely known. We determined the mortality rate and prognostic factors in old patients with dementia hospitalized due to AP.


We prospectively studied 120 consecutive patients aged ≥75years with dementia admitted with AP to two tertiary university hospitals. We collected data on demographic and clinical variables and comorbidities. Oropharyngeal swallowing was assessed by the water swallow test.


Sixty-one (50.8%) patients were female, and mean age was 86±9years. The swallow test was performed in 68 patients, revealing aspiration in 92.6%. Patients with repeat AP (28.3%) were more-frequently taking thickeners (61.8% vs.11.6%, p<0.0001) and were less-frequently prescribed angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (8.8% vs. 27.9%, p<0.001) than patients with a first episode. Hospital mortality was 33.3%; these patients had lower lymphocyte counts and higher percentage of multilobar involvement. In the multivariate model, involvement of ≥2 pulmonary lobes was associated with hospital mortality (OR 3.051, 95% CI 1.248 to 7.458, p<0.01). Six-month mortality was 50.8%; these patients were older and had worse functional capacity and laboratory data indicative of malnutrition. In the multivariate model, lower albumin levels were associated with six-month mortality (OR 1.129, 95% CI 1.008 to 1.265, p<0.03).


In-hospital and 6-month mortality were high (one-third and one-half patients, respectively). Multilobar involvement and lower lymphocyte counts were associated with hospital mortality, and older age, greater dependence and malnutrition with six-month mortality.


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