M Guttman, PM Slaughter, ME Theriault, DP DeBoer, M Math, CD Naylor Movement Disorders 2004; 19:49-53.

People with parkinsonism are six times as likely to be admitted to hospital with aspiration pneumonia as non-parkinsonian controls, according to this study.
Hospitalization records were examined for 15,304 cases of parkinsonism and 30,608 age- and sex-matched controls. Aspiration pneumonia occurred at a rate of 6.79/1000 in parkinsonian patients, versus 1.07/1000 for controls. Other comorbid conditions significantly more common in patients include affective psychosis (4.42 vs. 2.33), fractures of the neck of the femur (21.31 vs. 8.32), urinary tract disorders (7.37 vs. 2.95), septicemia (4.69 vs. 1.96), and fluid/electrolyte disorders (5.82 vs. 2.56). Several types of cancers were less common in parkinsonian patients.
The authors conclude, “The findings of the present study yield potentially important information for physicians providing care to patients with parkinsonism. .Aspiration pneumonia may be prevented by assessing swallowing function and implementing changes in dietary consistency after referral to a speech therapist. Falls leading to a hip fracture may be prevented by a gait assessment by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist and with the introduction of devices such as a cane or Rollator walker. Psychosis, in some cases, may be iatrogenic, and the cautious use of drugs that induce hallucinations and paranoia is warranted. The general health of parkinsonism patients should be monitored carefully to avoid serious infections and fluid and electrolyte abnormalities.”

Copyright 2003 WE MOVE