Predictors of clinical events occurring during hospital stay among elderly patients admitted to medical wards in Italy

Eur J Intern Med. 2016 Jul;32:38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2016.04.003. Epub 2016 May 4.


Background: Clinical events occurring during hospital stay are independent predictors of prolonged hospitalization, in-hospital mortality and readmission among elderly patients admitted to medical wards.

Purpose: To identify predictors of intercurrent clinical events (ICE) during hospital stay among the main demographic, functional and clinical characteristics assessed at hospital admission in a multicenter sample of elderly inpatients in Italy.

Methods: This observational prospective cohort study was conducted in 66 internal and geriatric medicine hospital wards in 2010. It enrolled 1267 inpatients aged 65years or older living at home before hospitalization. Multivariable Poisson regression analyses were employed to identify the most common ICEs as well as their independent predictors.

Results: During the hospital stay 427 patients (33.7%) experienced at least one ICE. The most common ICEs were urinary tract infections, pneumonia, anemia, arrhythmias and fluid electrolyte disorders. After correction for age, sex, comorbidity, cognitive impairment and functional dependence, independent predictors of any ICE were: being a bladder catheter holder (RR [risk ratio] 1.86, 95% CI 1.52-2.27), being on treatment at home with a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) (RR 1.25, 95% CI 1.03-1.53), with immunosuppressant therapy (RR 2.10, 95% CI 1.24-3.56), and body temperature at admission (RR 1.19, 95% CI 1.06-1.33).

Conclusion: Four clinical characteristics, easily assessable at admission, may be useful to identify elderly inpatients at a higher risk for developing ICEs during hospital stay. Furthermore three of these predictors are modifiable factors, thus interventions reducing the use of catheter, PPI and immunosuppressants may result in reduction of ICEs.

Keywords: Adverse events; Elderly; Hospitalization; Intercurrent clinical events; REPOSI.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / epidemiology*
  • Body Temperature
  • Female
  • Fever / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology*
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Prospective Studies
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Urinary Catheterization / statistics & numerical data
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / epidemiology*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors