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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 1995 Nov-Dec;21(3):307-15.

Urinary incontinence as a predictor of death and institutionalization in a general aged population.

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Geriatric Division, Department of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Haartmaninkatu 4, FIN-00290 Helsinki, Finland.


The prognostic significance of urinary incontinence (UI) was evaluated using the Helsinki (Finland) Aging Study Database, in which a random sample of persons of three age cohorts (75, 80 and 85 years, n=649) was followed for 5 years. The prevalence rates of UI in the three age groups were 10.5%, 20.4% and 28.6%, respectively. UI was also frequent in healthy aged subjects (15.6%), but most common in hospitalized patients (35.3%), in those with severe depression (51.8%), previous stroke (37.6%) or dementia (48.8%). UI had age- and gender-adjusted risk ratios (95% C.I.) for mortality of 1.75 (1.33-2.30) and for long-term institutional care of 2.37 (1.30-3.84). However, after controlling for the presence of dementia, the risk ratios were no longer significant. Thus, UI predicts both death and long-term institutionalization in the general aged population. However, this observation is mainly explained by the close association of UI with dementia.

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