Acute Hospitalization of the Older Patient: Changes in Muscle Strength and Functional Performance During Hospitalization and 30 Days After Discharge


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Abstract

ObjectiveAcute hospitalization of older patients may be associated with loss of muscle strength and functional performance. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of acute hospitalization as a result of medical disease on muscle strength and functional performance in older medical patients.DesignIsometric knee-extension strength; handgrip strength; and functional performance, that is, the Timed Up and Go test, were assessed at admission, at discharge, and 30 days after discharge. Twenty-four–hour mobility was measured during hospitalization.ResultsThe mean (SD) age was 82.7 (8.2) years, and the median length of stay was 7.5 days (interquartile range, 4.25–11). Knee-extension strength did not change over time (1.0 [N·m]/kg, 1.1 [N·m]/kg, and 1.1 [N·m]/kg, P = 0.138), as did handgrip strength (24.2 kg, 23.3 kg, and 23.5 kg, P = 0.265). The Timed Up and Go test improved during hospitalization, from 17.3 secs at admission to 13.3 secs at discharge (P = 0.003), but with no improvement at the 30-day follow-up (12.4 secs, P = 0.064). The median times spent in lying, sitting, and standing/walking were 17.4 hrs per day, 4.8 hrs per day, and 0.8 hrs per day, respectively.ConclusionsMuscle strength did not change during hospitalization and 30 days after discharge in the acutely admitted older medical patients. Despite a low level of mobility during hospitalization, functional performance improved significantly during hospitalization, without further improvement.

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