Annales de Gérontologie


Functional decline, a risk factor for infectious diseases Volume 2, issue 2, avril 2009

Pôle de Gériatrie, CHU La Milétrie, Poitiers

Infectious diseases contribute to functional decline in the elderly. Co-morbidities are one of the main risk factors. Few studies have considered the role of the functional status itself as a risk factor for infections. We conducted a prospective study to search a link between the usual functional status and the outcome of infection in the elderly. This was a prospective observational study dealing with 50 patients hospitalized with an infection and 50 others without any infection. The usual functional status of the patient was assessed by interviewing the patient and the relatives and measuring the activities and instrumental activities of daily living, prior to the acute illness that resulted in hospitalization. Other collected data included the MMSE score, the CISR-G score for comorbidities, medication and biological parameters. In each group, 31 women et 19 men were included. The infectious diseases were mainly infections of the lower respiratory tract and urinary infections. The functional status prior to hospitalization was significantly lower in the group of the patients with infection compared to the control group. The MMSE score was the same in the 2 groups. The CIRS-G score and the number of treatment were significantly higher in the group of infected patients. Serum albumin level was also significantly lowered in this group of patients. The hospitalization resulted in functional decline in both groups. The mean length of hospitalization was the same in both groups. Functional status should be considered as a risk factor for infections in the elderly. This status usually helps for the organisation of a safe environment but should also help improving the primary prevention of infections.