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J Eval Clin Pract. 2005 Feb;11(1):33-44.

Demographic and clinical characteristics of patients admitted to medical departments.

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Infectious Disease Unit, Department of Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.



The significant changes, which have affected departments of medicine over the last two decades, have been much editorialized. Surprisingly few data have been published that document these changes. We describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients admitted to one hospital's departments of internal medicine.


During a 3 months prospective study, 1039 patients (46% of all 2277 new admissions to the departments of medicine, consisting of +/- 175 beds) were randomized for inclusion. Information was extracted from the medical records regarding demography; functional capacity; clinical data and outcome.


The mean age of the patients was 72 +/- 16 years (mean +/- SD); 51% were male, 56% were married, and 83% lived at home. Although 293 patients (28%) were defined as dependent, the majority lived at home (170, 58%). Cognition was normal in only 74%. The four most common disease categories leading to admission were infections (383 patients, 37%), cardiovascular disorders (372, 36%), respiratory conditions (284, 27%) and genito-urinary problems (90, 9%). Overall, 98 persons died (9%). Independent risk factors for death were: mechanical ventilation; a 'do not resuscitate' order; a high APACHE-II score; a low serum albumin level; higher age; and not being married (P < 0.01).


Geriatric patients occupy a central position in our medical wards. These data are relevant for allocation of special resources for departments with high proportions of geriatric patients; for the design of employment conditions that ascertains continuing job satisfaction; as well as for the planning of teaching opportunities for residents and students.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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