Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pneumonia- Life Altering

Here is an intriguing read published in the American Journal of Medicine on hospitalization for pneumonia.  In the modern era, pneumonia is highly curable. Nevertheless, even with successful treatment, there are long term health consequences.

The investigators analyzed data from a prospective cohort of 1434 adults aged more than 50 years who survived 1711 hospitalizations for pneumonia, myocardial infarction, or stroke drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (1998-2010).  The outcomes of interest included the number of Activities and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living  requiring assistance and the presence of cognitive impairment and substantial depressive symptoms.
Hospitalization for pneumonia was associated with moderate-to-severe cognitive impairment (odds ratio, 2.46; 95% CI, 1.60-3.79) and substantial depressive symptoms (odds ratio, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.06-2.51).
This is an important finding. Although curable as an infectious disease, pneumonia in elderly patients results in long term cognitive and psychological consequences that are potentially life altering.
What does this mean? Future studies are needed to better understand this phenomenon. Prevention of pneumonia is equally important. Preventive measures such as smoking cessation and maximizing the vaccination of older adults for pneumococcus and influenza may limit the incidence and consequences of pneumonia.

To quote Benjamin Franklin, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

No comments:

Post a Comment