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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2012 May-Jun;54(3):e387-91. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2012.01.006. Epub 2012 Feb 4.

Inflammatory biomarkers as predictors of hospitalization and death in community-dwelling older adults.

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VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center (GRECC), Section of Hospital Medicine at Vanderbilt University, Room A-414, 1310 24th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212, USA. Amanda.Salanitro@Vanderbilt.Edu


Individuals with multimorbidity may be at increased risk of hospitalization and death. Comorbidity indexes do not capture severity of illness or healthcare utilization; however, inflammation biomarkers that are not disease-specific may predict hospitalization and death in older adults. We sought to predict hospitalization and mortality of older adults using inflammation biomarkers. From a prospective, observational study, 370 community-dwelling adults 65 years or older from central Alabama participated in an in-home assessment and provided fasting blood samples for inflammation biomarker testing in 2004. We calculated an inflammation summary score (range 0-4), one point each for low albumin, high C-reactive protein, low cholesterol, and high interleukin-6. Utilizing Cox proportional hazards models, inflammation summary scores were used to predicted time to hospitalization and death during a 4-year follow up period. The mean age was 73.7 (±5.9 yrs), and 53 (14%) participants had summary scores of 3 or 4. The rates of dying were significantly increased for participants with inflammation summary scores of 2, 3, or 4 (hazard ratio (HR) 2.22, 2.78, and 7.55, respectively; p<0.05). An inflammation summary score of 4 significantly predicted hospitalization (HR 5.92, p<0.05). Community-dwelling older adults with biomarkers positive for inflammation had increased rates of being hospitalized or dying during the follow up period. Assessment of the individual contribution of particular inflammation biomarkers in the prediction of health outcomes in older populations and the development of validated summary scores to predict morbidity and mortality are needed.

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