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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


CARVALHO-FILHO, Eurico T. et al. Iatrogeny in hospitalized elderly patients. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1998, vol.32, n.1, pp.36-42. ISSN 1518-8787.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the iatrogenic complications in hospitalized elderly patients. MATERIAL AND METHOD: Review of the medical records of 96 patients, 48 men and 48 women, aged 60 to 93 years (75.7 years on average), hospitalized in a geriatric ward during 1995. RESULTS: The study of the medical records of the patients showed: 1) forty-two (43.7%) of the elderly had one or more iatrogenic illnesses, with a total of 56 occurrences; 2) complications due to diagnostic tests corresponded to 17.9% of the iatrogenic disorders; 3) complications relating to therapeutic procedures corresponded to 58.9% of the iatrogenic disorders, 32.1% being caused by drugs and 26.8% caused by other therapeutic measures; 4) complications not directly related to diseases, like pressure sores, falls and fractures, corresponded to 23.2% of iatrogenic disorders, 5) iatrogenic illnesses were associated with an extended hospital stay; 6) in five elderly patients the iatrogenic complication was believed to have contributed to the death of the patient. CONCLUSION: Iatrogenic disorders occur frequently in elderly hospitalized patients and sometimes cause major and even fatal complications. As many of these complications are potentially preventable, we must identify the causes and develop technics to prevent or reduce their effects.

Keywords : Iatrogenic disease; epidemiology; In-patients; Aged.

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