Objectives: To determine the prevalence of neurologic disease and the diagnostic impact of neurologic consultation on a geriatric inpatient unit.
Material and methods: Consecutively admitted patients were prospectively assessed by a neurologist and by medical house staff on a geriatrics unit over a 4-month period. Neurologic diagnoses were compared.
Results: Fifty-eight men, aged 76.4+/-8.7 years old (mean+/-SD), had 1.4+/-1.1 new or revised neurologic diagnoses made by the neurologist. The prevalence of neurologic disorder was: gait or balance disorder (90%); cognitive disorders (71%); neuromuscular disorder (59%); cerebrovascular disorder (38%); and extrapyramidal disorders (22%). New diagnoses were made by the neurologist among the cognitive (40%), neuromuscular (36%) and cerebrovascular disorders (19%).
Conclusions: Neurologic disease is highly prevalent in geriatric inpatients. A neurologist's assessment resulted in altered diagnoses suggesting that neurologists should play a role in geriatric assessment and in education of health professionals caring for the elderly.