Recognition of neurologic diseases in geriatric inpatients

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Objectives:To determine the prevalence of neurologic disease and the diagnostic impact of neurologic consultation on a geriatric inpatient unit.Material and methodsConsecutively admitted patients were prospectively assessed by a neurologist and by medical house staff on a geriatrics unit over a 4-month period. Neurologic diagnoses were compared.ResultsFifty-eight men, aged 76.4±8.7 years old (mean±SD), had 1.4±1.1 new or revised neurologic diagnoses made by the neurologist. The prevalence of neurologic disorder was: gait or balance disorder (90%); cognitive disorders (71%); neuromuscular disorder (59%); cerebrovascular disorder (38%); and extrapyramidal disorders (22%). New diagnoses were made by the neurologist among the cognitive (40%), neuromuscular (36%) and cerebrovascular disorders (19%).ConclusionsNeurologic disease is highly prevalent in geriatric inpatients. A neurologist's assessment resulted in altered diagnoses suggesting that neurologists should play a role in geriatric assessment and in education of health professionals caring for the elderly.

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