The interaction between age and comorbidity contributes to predicting the mortality of geriatric patients in the acute-care hospital

J Intern Med. 1997 Oct;242(4):291-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.1997.00132.x.


Objective: To test the predictive power of comorbidity and of the interaction between age and comorbidity in geriatric patients with acute medical illness.

Design: Prospective observational study.

Setting: Medical and geriatric wards of an acute-care hospital.

Subjects: Three hundred and seventy patients over 70 years of age consecutively admitted in an 18-month period.

Main outcome measure: In-hospital mortality.

Method: On admission a multidimensional assessment was performed, and a comorbidity index and an age-comorbidity index developed on a comparable training population were calculated. The comorbidity index is based upon a scoring system that quantifies the prognostic weight of individual diseases, while the age-comorbidity index corrects the former for the age-related increase of the risk of death. The predictive power of variables univariately correlated with the outcome was tested by logistic regression.

Results: Death was independently predicted by clinical diagnosis of malnutrition (odds ratio = 1.87, confidence limits CL = 1.20-2.86), age-comorbidity index > 7 (odds ratio = 1.77, CL = 1.15-2.72), preadmission impairment in activities of daily living (odds ratio = 1.74, CL = 1.13-2.69), lymphocytopenia (odds ratio = 1.74, CL = 1.15-2.61). A weaker predictive model was obtained by substituting the comorbidity index for the index of age-comorbidity. Excluding comorbidity from the logistic regression greatly weakened the predictive model.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Age Factors*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve