Anemia and recovery from disability in activities of daily living in hospitalized older persons

Cinzia Maraldi, Stefano Volpato, Matteo Cesari, Margherita Cavalieri, Graziano Onder, Irene Mangani, Richard C Woodman, Renato Fellin, Marco Pahor et al.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2006, 54 (4): 632-6

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the predictive value of hemoglobin levels upon hospital admission on recovery from activity of daily living (ADL) disability during hospital stay in older patients.

DESIGN: Longitudinal observational study.

SETTING: Geriatric and internal medicine acute care units.

PARTICIPANTS: Data are from 5,675 patients aged 65 and older enrolled in the Italian Group of Pharmacoepidemiology in the Elderly Study with ADL disability upon hospital admission.

MEASUREMENTS: ADL disability was defined as inability to perform or need for assistance in performing one or more ADLs. Recovery from ADL disability was defined as independence in ADLs upon hospital discharge. Anemia was defined according to the World Health Organization criteria. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were considered as potential confounders.

RESULTS: Mean age was 80.5 years; 57.7% of subjects were female. Prevalence of anemia was 46.8%. A total of 536 (9.4%) participants regained independence in all six ADLs at hospital discharge. Patients with anemia had a lower rate of recovery from ADL disability than those with normal hemoglobin levels (7.0% vs 11.6%; P<.001). Adjusted analyses confirmed that anemia was inversely associated with the likelihood of ADL recovery (odds ratio=0.71, 95% confidence interval=0.57-0.88). The probability of ADL recovery in anemic patients was higher at higher hemoglobin concentrations.

CONCLUSION: In older hospitalized patients, anemia is inversely associated with the likelihood of regaining ADL independence during a hospital stay.

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