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Pneumonia Raises Long-Term Mortality Risk in Seniors

Hospitalization for the disease as serious as diagnosis of stroke or major fracture

THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalization for community-acquired pneumonia raises the risk of one-year and five-year mortality as much as hospital admission for congestive heart failure, stroke or major fracture, regardless of comorbid conditions, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Sachin Yende, M.D., M.S., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues conducted a study of 3,075 subjects aged 70 to 79 in Memphis, Tenn., and Pittsburgh. The subjects were followed for more than 5.2 years, during which time 106 were hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia. Of these, 22 (20.8 percent) died at one year, and 38 (35.8 percent) died at five years.

Hospitalization was associated with higher mortality, and, at both one and five years, rates of mortality after initial hospitalization were similar to or higher than those for congestive heart failure, cerebrovascular accident, or fracture. The rates of longer-term mortality may be explained by the higher likelihood of re-hospitalization among those who had community-acquired pneumonia, the authors wrote.

"These risk estimates remain unchanged after adjusting for age, pre-hospitalization chronic health conditions, functional status, smoking status, circulating inflammatory marker concentrations, and nutritional markers, suggesting that the hospitalization event itself may be more important in increasing subsequent mortality than the risk factors that increase susceptibility to pneumonia," they concluded.

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