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Older survivors of mechanical ventilation can expect significant disability
Date:12/8/2010

Patients aged 65 and older who survive an episode of mechanical ventilation during a hospitalization are more likely to suffer from long-term disabilities after leaving the hospital than those who survive hospitalization without mechanical ventilation, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. These results were borne out even though the levels of functional disability prior to hospitalization were similar in both groups.

The study was published online ahead of the print edition of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"Our findings offer the first nationally-representative estimates of functional status outcomes for elderly patients who have survived mechanical ventilation, using a prospective population-based sample," said Amber Barnato, MD, associate professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh. "Unfortunately, 70 percent of elders who receive mechanical ventilation will not survive the year. And the 30 percent who are strong enough to survive will be very disabled."

Previous studies of the effects of mechanical ventilation on elderly patients have offered conflicting results, and were limited by their local patient sampling and lack of first-person information about physical function before the illness.

"This study puts to rest the controversy: doctors can confidently tell their elderly patients that if they survive an episode of mechanical ventilation they will be much more disabled than before, and may require nursing home care," noted Dr. Barnato.

To complete their study, the researchers used data collected over a seven-year period in the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), a continuous survey of a nationally representative sample of aged, disabled and institutionalized Medicare beneficiaries sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. MCBS conducts in-person interviews with each sampled beneficiary four
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Contact: Brian Kell
bkell@thoracic.org
212-315-6442
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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