The aim of this study was to assess mortality in healthy elderly patients after non-elective medical ICU admission and to identify predictive factors of mortality in these patients. Patients ≥65 years living at home and with full-autonomy (Barthel index, BI > 60), without cognitive impairment, and non-electively admitted to a medical ICU were prospectively recruited. A full comprehensive geriatric assessment was made with validated scales. A total of 230 patients were included, 110 (48%) between 65 and 74 years and 120 (52%) ≥75 years. No significant differences were observed between the two groups in premorbid functional and cognitive status, main diagnosis at ICU admission, APACHE II and SOFA scores, use of mechanical ventilation or haemodialysis or length of ICU stay. Over a mean follow-up of 522 days (range 20–1,170 days) the cumulative mortality of the whole group was 55%, being significantly higher in older subjects (62 vs. 47%; P = 0.024). On multivariate analysis, only parameters related to quality of life (QOL) and functional status were independent predictors of cumulated mortality (P < 0.01, both). Thus, in patients with EQ-5Dvas (<70) or baseline Lawton index (LI) (<5) the hazard ratio for cumulated mortality was 2.45 (95% CI: 1.15–5.25; P = 0.03) and 4.10 (95% CI: 1.53–10.99; P = 0.006), respectively, compared to those with better scores. Healthy elderly non-elective medical patients admitted to the ICU have a high mortality rate related to premorbid QOL. The LI and/or EQ-5Dvas may be useful tools to identify patients with the best chance of survival.
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