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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 160-163

Study of electrolyte patterns in elderly admitted with infection

Department of Geriatric Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Priya Vijayakumar
Professor, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi 682 041, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JCSR.JCSR_51_20

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Background: Sparse published data are available regarding electrolyte abnormalities in elderly patients admitted to hospital with infection. Methods: We retrospectively studied the case records of 115 elderly patients (aged >60 years) admitted with 131 episodes of admissions due to various infections to the geriatric medicine wards and intensive care unit in our tertiary care teaching hospital during January 2018– September 2019. Results: Their mean age (years) was 79.1 ± 8.2 years; there were 58 (50.4%) females. Seven patients were admitted twice; one patient was admitted thrice with infection. The common sites of infection were lower respiratory tract (n = 58, 44.3%); urinary tract (n = 56, 42.7%); cellulitis, wound and soft-tissue infections (n = 22, 16.8%); and sepsis and related syndromes (n = 11, 8.4%). The common comorbid conditions included hypertension (67.8%), diabetes mellitus (45.2%), coronary artery disease (26.1%) and chronic kidney disease (12.2%). Hyponatraemia was the most common electrolyte abnormality seen in 53/131 (40.5%) episodes followed by hypocalcaemia (35/112, 31.2%), hypokalaemia (22/131, 16.8%), hypernatraemia (n = 1), hyperkalaemia (n = 9), hypercalcaemia (n = 2), hypomagnesaemia (n = 15), hypophosphataemia (n = 11) and hyperphosphataemia (n = 3). All patients with dyselectrolytaemia were receiving multiple (median [interquartile range (IQR)] 6 [3.75–8]) drugs. The median (IQR) duration of hospital stay was 6 (4–10) days. Eight of the 115 (7%) patients died; four of these eight patients had been admitted more than once with infection. There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of patients with hyponatraemia (65/108 vs. 3/8; P = NS) and hypokalaemia (8/108 vs. 1/8; P = NS) among survivors and non-survivors. Conclusions: Dyselectrolytaemia is a common correctable metabolic abnormality seen in elderly patients hospitalised with infections. Careful monitoring and instituting correction can be life-saving.

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