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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2007;44 Suppl 1:7-12.

Depressive symptoms and quality of life in elderly patients with exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cardiac heart failure: preliminary data of a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Medical and Surgical Disciplines, Geriatric Section, University of Torino, S. Giovanni Battista Hospital, Corso Bramante 88, I-10126 Torino, Italy.


Aim of the study was to evaluate mortality and functional, cognitive, affective status in elderly patients (>or=75 years) with exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or acute congestive heart failure (CHF) admitted to the emergency department (ED) of S. Giovanni Battista Hospital of Torino and randomly assigned to the geriatric home hospitalization service (GHHS) or to a general medical ward (GMW). All patients were evaluated on admission, on discharge and at 6 months, using a standardized study protocol. We excluded patients with unstable medical conditions. The total sample included 73 patients: 35 with COPD exacerbation (19 GHHS, 16 GMW) and 38 with CHF (19 GHHS, 19 GMW). Mean age was 81.7+/-8.0 years. At baseline, no significant differences in demographic, social and clinical conditions were found between the two groups of patients. 56.7% of COPD patients had a severe exacerbation, according to Anthonisen criteria; 65% of CHF patients were NYHA-III and 35% NYHA-IV (according to the criteria of the New York Heart Association) (FE<35% in 40% of patients). On admission all patients were partially dependent in ADLs and IADLs, with a moderate impairment of depression score and a fairly good quality of life. On discharge depression score and quality of life were significantly better only in GHHS patients. Mortality was similar in the two setting of care. Patients managed at home had a significantly longer length of treatment. At 6-month follow-up we did not observe a difference in mortality, but we observed a higher readmission rate in patients previously treated in hospital. In conclusion, our study indicates that home-treated patients with COPD or CHF have better depressive scores and quality of life and a lower rate of hospital readmission after six months.

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