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Ungar A.,University of Florence | Mussi C.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Nicosia F.,Medicine and Geriatric Unit | Ceccofiglio A.,University of Florence | And 10 more authors.
Aging Clinical and Experimental Research | Year: 2015

Background and aim: Syncope and related falls are one of the main causes and the predominant cause of hospitalization in elderly patients with dementia. However, the diagnostic protocol for syncope is difficult to apply to patients with dementia. Thus, we developed a “simplified” protocol to be used in a prospective, observational, and multicenter study in elderly patients with dementia and transient loss of consciousness suspected for syncope or unexplained falls. Here, we describe the protocol, its feasibility and the characteristics of the patients enrolled in the study. Methods: Patients aged ≥65 years with a diagnosis of dementia and one or more episodes of transient loss of consciousness during the previous 3 months, subsequently referred to a Geriatric Department in different regions of Italy, from February 2012 to May 2014, were enrolled. A simplified protocol was applied in all patients. Selected patients underwent a second-level evaluation. Results: Three hundred and three patients were enrolled; 52.6 % presented with episodes suspected to be syncope, 44.5 % for unexplained fall and 2.9 % both. Vascular dementia had been previously diagnosed in 53.6 % of participants, Alzheimer’s disease in 23.5 % and mixed forms in 12.6 %. Patients presented with high comorbidity (CIRS score = 3.6 ± 2), severe functional impairment, (BADL lost = 3 ± 2), and polypharmacy (6 ± 3 drugs). Conclusion: Elderly patients with dementia enrolled for suspected syncope and unexplained falls have high comorbidity and disability. The clinical presentation is often atypical and the presence of unexplained falls is particularly frequent. © 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

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