Outcome predictors of pneumonia in elderly patients: importance of functional assessment

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Oct;52(10):1603-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2004.52492.x.


Objectives: To evaluate the outcome of elderly patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) seen at an acute-care hospital, analyzing the importance of CAP severity, functional status, comorbidity, and frailty.

Design: Prospective observational study.

Setting: Emergency department and geriatric medical day hospital of a university teaching hospital.

Participants: Ninety-nine patients aged 65 and older seen for CAP over a 6-month recruitment period.

Measurements: Clinical data were used to calculate Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI), Barthel Index (BI), Charlson Comorbidity Index, and Hospital Admission Risk Profile (HARP). Patients were then assessed 15 days later to determine functional decline and 30 days and 18 months later for mortality and readmission. Multiple logistic regression was used to analyze outcomes.

Results: Functional decline was observed in 23% of the 93 survivors. Within the 30-day period, case-fatality rate was 6% and readmission rate 11%; 18-month rates were 24% and 59%, respectively. Higher BI was a protective factor for 30-day and 18-month mortality (odds ratio (OR)=0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.94-0.98 and OR=0.97, 95% CI=0.95-0.99, respectively; P<.01), and PSI was the only predictor for functional decline (OR=1.03, 95% CI=1.01-1.05; P=.01). Indices did not predict readmission. Analyses were repeated for the 74 inpatients and indicated similar results except for 18-month mortality, which HARP predicted (OR=1.73; 95% CI=1.16-2.57; P<.01).

Conclusion: Functional status was an independent predictor for short- and long-term mortality in hospitalized patients whereas CAP severity predicted functional decline. Severity indices for CAP should possibly thus be adjusted in the elderly population, taking functional status assessment into account.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Community-Acquired Infections / classification*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / drug therapy
  • Community-Acquired Infections / mortality
  • Female
  • Geriatrics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / classification*
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia / mortality
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Infective Agents