Prognosis of primary care patients aged 80 years and older with lower respiratory tract infection

Br J Gen Pract. 2009 Apr;59(561):e110-5. doi: 10.3399/bjgp09X420239.


Background: Predictors for a complicated course of a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) episode among patients aged > or =80 years are unknown.

Aim: To determine prognostic factors for hospital admission or death within 30 days after first onset of LRTI among primary care patients aged > or =80 years.

Design of study: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Utrecht General Practitioner Research Network.

Method: Data were obtained using the computerised database of the research network over the years 1997 to 2003. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was applied to estimate the independent association of predictors with 30-day hospitalisation or death.

Results: In all, 860 episodes of LRTI were observed in 509 patients; 13% of patients were hospitalised or died within 30 days. Type of LRTI, diabetes, use of oral glucocorticoids, use of antibiotics in the previous month, and hospitalisation in the previous 12 months were independently associated with the combined outcome. Patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus had a greater risk of 30-day hospitalisation or death compared with patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

Conclusion: Independent of age, serious comorbidity - notably the presence of insulin-dependent diabetes or exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease requiring oral glucocorticoids - increases the risk for complications, including hospital admissions, in patients aged > or =80 years with an LRTI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Primary Health Care
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / mortality*
  • Risk Factors


  • Glucocorticoids