Objectives: To investigate the risk of hospitalization for pneumonia in older adults in relation to biophysical environmental factors.
Design: Population-based case control study with collection of personal interview data.
Setting: Hamilton, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Participants: Seven hundred seventeen people aged 65 and older hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) from September 2002 to April 2005 and 867 controls aged 65 and older randomly selected from the same communities as the cases.
Measurements: Odds ratios (ORs) for risk of pneumonia in relation to environmental and other variables.
Results: Exposure to secondhand smoke in the previous month (OR=1.73, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.04-2.90); poor nutritional score (OR=1.83, 95% CI=1.19-2.80); alcohol use per month (per gram; OR=1.69, 95% CI=1.08-2.61); history of regular exposure to gases, fumes, or chemicals at work (OR=3.69, 95% CI=2.37-5.75); history of regular exposure to fumes from solvents, paints, or gasoline at home (OR=3.31, 95% CI=1.59-6.87); and non-English language spoken at home (OR=5.31, 95% CI=2.60-10.87) were associated with a greater risk of pneumonia hospitalization in multivariable analysis. Age, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease, dysphagia, renal disease, functional status, use of immunosuppressive disease medications, and lifetime history of smoking of more than 100 cigarettes were other variables associated with hospitalization for pneumonia.
Conclusion: In elderly people, present and past exposures in the physical environmental are associated with hospitalization for CAP.