Hospitalisation May Cause Cognitive Decline in Older Patients

28 February 2010 (Last Updated February 28th, 2010 18:30)

Older patients hospitalised for acute care or a critical illness are more likely to experience cognitive decline compared to older adults who are not hospitalised, a new study has found. The study was been conducted on data from 1994 to 2007 on 2,929 individuals 65 years of age and olde

Older patients hospitalised for acute care or a critical illness are more likely to experience cognitive decline compared to older adults who are not hospitalised, a new study has found.

The study was been conducted on data from 1994 to 2007 on 2,929 individuals 65 years of age and older without dementia at the beginning of the study.

During an average follow-up of 6.1 years, 1,601 participants had no hospitalisations while enrolled in the study, 1,287 study participants were hospitalised for non-critical illness and 41 for a critical illness.

During the study, of those never hospitalised, there were 146 cases of dementia and among those experiencing one or more non-critical illness hospitalisations but no critical illness hospitalisations there were 228 cases of dementia.

There were five cases of dementia among those experiencing one or more critical illness hospitalisations during the study.

Hypoxemia (decreased partial pressure of oxygen in blood), delirium, hypotension, glucose dysregulation, systemic inflammation and sedative and analgesic medications may play a role in critically ill patients, contributing to neurocognitive impairment.