Clinical aspects of thyroid function during ageing

lobally, populations are ageing at a rapid rate. The increase in the number of older citizens is accompanied by an increased prevalence of thyroid dysfunction, one of the most common disorders in older people. However, the diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction in older people is hindered by several factors, including the scarcity of thyroid dysfunction symptoms in older people. We describe the physiological changes in thyroid function that occur with increasing age, focusing on literature regarding changes in thyroid function test results in older populations. We also discuss treatment considerations for clinical and subclinical thyroid dysfunction according to international guidelines for older people. Finally, we discuss the relationship between variations in thyroid function and common diseases of old age including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cognitive impairment, and frailty and suggest directions for future research.


Predictors and Outcomes of Revisits in Older Adults Discharged from the Emergency Department

Objectives To study predictors of emergency department (ED) revisits and the association between ED revisits and 90-day functional decline or mortality. Design Multicenter cohort study. Setting One academic and two regional Dutch hospitals. Participants Older adults discharged from the ED (N=1,093). Measurements At baseline, data on demographic characteristics, illness severity, and geriatric parameters (cognition, functional capacity) were collected. All participants were prospectively followed for an unplanned revisit within 30 days and for functional decline and mortality 90 days after the initial visit. Results The median age was 79 (interquartile range 74?84), and 114 participants (10.4%) had an ED revisit within 30 days of discharge. Age (hazard ratio (HR)=0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.92?0.99), male sex (HR=1.61, 95% CI=1.05?2.45), polypharmacy (HR=2.06, 95% CI=1.34?3.16), and cognitive impairment (HR=1.71, 95% CI=1.02?2.88) were independent predictors of a 30-day ED revisit. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve to predict an ED revisit was 0.65 (95% CI=0.60?0.70). In a propensity score?matched analysis, individuals with an ED revisit were at higher risk (odds ratio=1.99 95% CI=1.06?3.71) of functional decline or mortality. Conclusion Age, male sex, polypharmacy, and cognitive impairment were independent predictors of a 30-day ED revisit, but no useful clinical prediction model could be developed. However, an early ED revisit is a strong new predictor of adverse outcomes in older adults.


Determinants of self-rated health in older adults before and 3 months after an emergency department visit: a prospective study

Self-rated health (SRH) is an important patient-reported outcome, but little is known about SRH after a visit to the emergency department (ED). We investigated the determinants of decline in SRH during 3 months after an ED visit in older patients. DESIGN: This was a multicenter prospective cohort study including acutely presenting older ( ≥ 70 years) patients in the ED (the Netherlands). Patients were asked to self-rate their health between 0 and 10. The main outcome was a decline in SRH defined as a transition of a SRH of at least 6 to a SRH of less than 6, 3 months after the patient’s visit to the ED. RESULTS: Three months after the ED visit, 870 (71.4%) patients had a stable SRH and 209 (11.5%) patients declined in SRH. Independent predictors with a decline in SRH were: male gender (OR 1.83) living alone (OR 1.56), living in residential care or nursing home (OR 2.75), number of different medications (OR 1.08), using a walking device (OR 1.70), and the Katz-ADL score (OR 1.22). Patients with functional decline 3 months after an ED visit show a steeper decline in the mean SRH (0.68 points) than patients with no functional decline (0.12 points, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Decline in SRH after an ED visit in older patients is at least partly dependent on factors of functional capacity and functional decline. Preventive interventions to maintain functional status may be the solution to maintain SRH, but more research is needed to further improve and firmly establish the clinical usability of these findings.


Impaired cognition is associated with adverse outcome in older patients in the Emergency Department; the Acutely Presenting Older Patients (APOP) study

To investigate whether cognitive impairment, measured early after Emergency Department (ED) arrival and irrespective of its cause, is independently associated with functional decline or mortality after 3 and 12 months in older ED patients.a prospective multi-centre cohort study in all Acutely Presenting Older Patients visiting the Emergency Department (APOP study) of three hospitals in the Netherlands.2,130 patients, ≥70 on demographics, disease severity and geriatric characteristics were collected during the first hour of the ED visit. Cognition was measured using the 6-Item-Cognitive-Impairment-Test (‘6CIT’). Cognitive impairment was defined as 6CIT ≥11, self-reported dementia or the inability to perform the cognition test. The composite adverse outcome after 3 and 12 months was defined as a 1-point decrease in Katz Activities of Daily Living (ADL), new institutionalisation or mortality. Multivariable regression analysis was used to assess whether cognitive impairment independently associates with adverse outcome.of 2,130 included patients, 588 (27.6%) had cognitive impairment at baseline and 654 patients (30.7%) suffered from adverse outcome after 3 months. Cognitive impairment associated with increased risk for adverse outcome (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.72, 95%CI 1.37–2.17). After 12 months, 787 patients (36.9%) suffered from adverse outcome. Again, cognitive impairment independently associated with increased risk for adverse outcome (adjusted OR 1.89, 95%CI 1.46–2.46). ORs were similar for patients who were discharged home versus hospitalised patients.cognitive impairment measured during the early stages of ED visit, irrespective of the cause, is independently associated with adverse outcome after 3 and 12 months in older patients.


Optimising the ISAR-HP to screen efficiently for functional decline in older patients

Introduction: The Identification of Seniors At Risk-Hospitalised Patients (ISAR-HP) has recently been included in guidelines as a frailty indicator to identify patients for comprehensive geriatric assessment. Previous studies showed that the conventional cut-off score incorrectly classifies a high percentage of patients as high risk. We aimed to optimise the predictive value of ISAR-HP by using different cut-offs in older acutely hospitalised patients.

Methods: A prospective follow-up study was performed in two Dutch hospitals. Acutely hospitalised patients aged ≥ 70 years were included. Demographics, illness severity parameters, geriatric measurements and the ISAR-HP scores were obtained at baseline. The primary outcome was a combined end point of functional decline or mortality during 90-day follow-up.

Results: In total 765 acutely hospitalised older patients were included, with a median age of 79 years, of whom 276 (36.1%) experienced functional decline or mortality. The conventional ISAR-HP cut-off of ≥ 2 assigned 432/765 patients (56.5%) as high risk, with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.49 (95%CI 0.45-0.54) and a negative predictive value of 0.81 (95%CI 0.76-0.85). Thus, 51% of those whom the ISAR-HP denoted as high risk did not experience the outcome of interest. Raising the cut-off to ≥ 4 assigned 205/765 patients (26.8%) as high risk, with a marginally increased PPV to 0.55 (95%CI 0.48-0.62).
Conclusion: The ISAR-HP with the conventional cut-off of ≥ 2 incorrectly identifies a large group of patients at high risk for functional decline or mortality and raising the cut-off to 4 only marginally improved performance. Caution is warranted to ensure efficient screening and follow-up interventions.


Early prediction of hospital admission for emergency department patients: a comparison between patients younger or older than 70 years

Objective The aim of this study was to develop models that predict hospital admission to ED of patients younger and older than 70 and compare their performance.Methods Prediction models were derived in a retrospective observational study of all patients≥18 years old visiting the ED of a university hospital during the first 6 months of 2012. Patients were stratified into two age groups (&lt;70 years old and ≥70 years old). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors of hospital admission among factors available immediately after patient arrival to the ED. Validation of the prediction models was performed on patients presenting to the ED during the second half of the year 2012.Results 10 807 patients were included in the derivation and 10 480 in the validation cohorts. The strongest independent predictors of hospital admission among the 8728 patients &lt;70 years old were age, sex, triage category, mode of arrival, performance of blood tests, chief complaint, ED revisit, type of specialist, phlebotomised blood sample and all vital signs. The area under the curve (AUC) of the validation cohort for those &lt;70 years old was 0.86 (95% CI 0.85 to 0.87). Among the 2079 patients ≥70 years, the same factors were predictive, except for gender, type of specialist and heart rate; the AUC was 0.77 (95% CI 0.75 to 0.79). The prediction models could identify a group of 10% of patients with the highest risk in whom hospital admission was predicted at ED triage, with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 71% (95% CI 68% to 74%) in younger patients and PPV of 87% (95% CI 81% to 92%) in older patients.Conclusion Demographic and clinical factors readily available early in the ED visit can be useful in identifying patients who are likely to be admitted to the hospital. While the model for the younger patients had a higher AUC, the model for older patients had a higher PPV in identifying the patients at highest risk for admission. Of note, heart rate was not a useful predictor in the older patients.


Cognitive Testing in People at Increased Risk of Dementia Using a Smartphone App: The iVitality Proof-of-Principle Study

Background: Smartphone-assisted technologies potentially provide the opportunity for large-scale, long-term, repeated monitoring of cognitive functioning at home.

Objective: The aim of this proof-of-principle study was to evaluate the feasibility and validity of performing cognitive tests in people at increased risk of dementia using smartphone-based technology during a 6 months follow-up period.

Methods: We used the smartphone-based app iVitality to evaluate five cognitive tests based on conventional neuropsychological tests (Memory-Word, Trail Making, Stroop, Reaction Time, and Letter-N-Back) in healthy adults. Feasibility was tested by studying adherence of all participants to perform smartphone-based cognitive tests. Validity was studied by assessing the correlation between conventional neuropsychological tests and smartphone-based cognitive tests and by studying the effect of repeated testing.

Results: We included 151 participants (mean age in years=57.3, standard deviation=5.3). Mean adherence to assigned smartphone tests during 6 months was 60% (SD 24.7). There was moderate correlation between the firstly made smartphone-based test and the conventional test for the Stroop test and the Trail Making test with Spearman ρ=.3-.5 (P<.001). Correlation increased for both tests when comparing the conventional test with the mean score of all attempts a participant had made, with the highest correlation for Stroop panel 3 (ρ=.62, P<.001). Performance on the Stroop and the Trail Making tests improved over time suggesting a learning effect, but the scores on the Letter-N-back, the Memory-Word, and the Reaction Time tests remained stable. Conclusions: Repeated smartphone-assisted cognitive testing is feasible with reasonable adherence and moderate relative validity for the Stroop and the Trail Making tests compared with conventional neuropsychological tests. Smartphone-based cognitive testing seems promising for large-scale data-collection in population studies. Keywords: cognition; neuropsychological tests; telemedicine.


External validity of randomized controlled trials in older adults, a systematic review

Background To critically assess the external validity of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) it is important to know what older adults have been enrolled in the trials. The aim of this systematic review is to study what proportion of trials specifically designed for older patients report on somatic status, physical and mental functioning, social environment and frailty in the patient characteristics. Methods PubMed was searched for articles published in 2012 and only RCTs were included. Articles were further excluded if not conducted with humans or only secondary analyses were reported. A random sample of 10% was drawn. The current review analyzed this random sample and further selected trials when the reported mean age was ≥ 60 years. We extracted geriatric assessments from the population descriptives or the in- and exclusion criteria. Results In total 1396 trials were analyzed and 300 trials included. The median of the reported mean age was 66 (IQR 63–70) and the median percentage of men in the trials was 60 (IQR 45–72). In 34% of the RCTs specifically designed for older patients somatic status, physical and mental functioning, social environment or frailty were reported in the population descriptives or the in- and exclusion criteria. Physical and mental functioning was reported most frequently (22% and 14%). When selecting RCTs on a mean age of 70 or 80 years the report of geriatric assessments in the patient characteristics was 46% and 85% respectively but represent only 5% and 1% of the trials. Conclusion Somatic status, physical and mental functioning, social environment and frailty are underreported even in RCTs specifically designed for older patients published in 2012. Therefore, it is unclear for clinicians to which older patients the results can be applied. We recommend systematic to transparently report these relevant characteristics of older participants included in RCTs.


The Cognitive decline in Older Patients with End stage renal disease (COPE) study – rationale and design

Background: Older patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) are at increased risk for cognitive decline, but detailed studies of the magnitude of cognitive decline on dialysis or comprehensive conservative management (CCM) are lacking and the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms have poorly been studied.

Objectives: To describe the rationale and design of the COPE study. Study objectives are as follows. Firstly, to examine the severity of cognitive impairment in older patients reaching ESRD before dialysis and the rate of decline after dialysis or CCM initiation. Secondly, to study the association of blood biomarkers for microvascular damage and MRI derived measurements of small vessel disease with the rate of cognitive decline. Thirdly, to examine to what extent cardiac function is related to brain structure and perfusion in patients reaching ESRD. Finally, to study the association of cognitive and functional capacity with quality of life in pre-dialysis patients, as well as after dialysis or CCM initiation.

Study design and methods: The COPE study is a prospective, multicenter cohort study in the Netherlands, including prevalent and incident pre-dialysis patients ≥65 years old with eGFR ≤20 ml/min/1.73 m2, awaiting either dialysis or CCM initiation. At baseline extensive data is collected including a comprehensive geriatric assessment and laboratory tests. Brain and cardiac MRI for analysis of structural and functional abnormalities are performed at baseline and repeated following therapy change. All other measurements are repeated annually during four years of follow up, including an extra evaluation six months after initiation of dialysis.

Conclusions: Knowledge of the magnitude of cognitive decline and its underlying pathophysiological mechanism, as well as its impact on functionality and quality of life can eventually help to postulate an algorithm for well balanced decision making in treatment strategies in older patients reaching ESRD.