Infection and mortality risk among patients with dementia


Infection increases mortality risk among patients with dementia, new research suggests.

A large, registry-based cohort study showed that those with dementia had a greater than sixfold increased risk of dying after acquiring any infection than those without dementia or an infection.

The findings were presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2020, which was held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investigators analyzed data from Danish national health registries for nearly 1.5 million individuals aged 65 and older who had visited the hospital with an infection. There were 575,260 deaths during more than 12.7 million person-years of follow-up.

Patients with dementia who also had a hospital visit for infection died at a 6.5 times higher rate than participants without dementia or an infection. Those with either dementia alone or infection-related contacts alone had a threefold increased rate of death.

The mortality rate was highest within the first 30 days following the hospital visit for infection. However, the rate remained elevated for 10 years after the initial infection-related hospital visit.

Clinicians and healthcare personnel need to pay closer attention to infections of all types in people with dementia, and steps towards better clinical management and improved post-hospital care need to be explored and undertaken. We need to identify possible preventive measures and targeted interventions in people with dementia and infections