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01.12.2019 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Critical Care 1/2019

Effect of dementia on the incidence, short-term outcomes, and resource utilization of invasive mechanical ventilation in the elderly: a nationwide population-based study

Critical Care > Ausgabe 1/2019
Carmen Bouza, Gonzalo Martínez-Alés, Teresa López-Cuadrado
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13054-019-2580-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Though the prevalence of dementia among hospitalized patients is increasing, there is limited population data in Europe about the use of life-support measures such as invasive mechanical ventilation in these patients. Our objective is to assess whether dementia influences the incidence, outcomes, and hospital resource use in elderly patients undergoing mechanical ventilation.


Using ICD-9-CM codes, all hospitalizations involving invasive mechanical ventilation in adults aged ≥ 65 years were identified in the Spanish national hospital discharge database covering the period 2000–2013. The cases identified were stratified into two cohorts (patients with or without dementia) in which main outcome measures were compared. The impact of dementia on in-hospital mortality and hospital resource use were assessed through multivariable models. Trends were assessed through joinpoint regression analysis and results expressed as average annual percentage change.


Of the 259,623 cases identified, 5770 (2.2%) had been assigned codes for dementia. Cases with dementia were older, had a lower Charlson comorbidity score, and less frequently received prolonged mechanical ventilation or were assigned a surgical DRG. Circulatory disease was the most common main diagnosis in both cohorts. No significant impact of dementia was observed on in-hospital mortality (adjusted OR 1.04, [95% CI] 0.98, 1.09). In the cohort with dementia, the incidence of mechanical ventilation underwent an average annual increase over time of 5.39% (95% CI 4.0, 6.7) while this rate was 1.62% (95% CI 0.9, 2.4) in cases without dementia. However, unlike this cohort, mortality in cases with dementia did not significantly decline over time. Geometric mean hospital cost and stay were lower among cases with than without dementia (− 14% [95% CI − 12%, − 15%] and − 12% [95% CI, − 9%, − 14%], respectively), and these differences increased over time.


This nationwide population-based study suggests no impact of dementia on in-hospital mortality in elderly patients undergoing invasive mechanical ventilation. However, dementia is significantly associated with shorter stay and hospital costs. Our data also identifies a recent marked increase in the use of this life-support measure in elderly patients with dementia and that this increase is much greater than that observed in elderly individuals without dementia.
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