Cognitive impairment and depression are commonly associated with poor outcomes in geriatric patients. Both are part of the "failure to thrive syndrome" (FTS), that is a combined group of symptoms as a result from progressive functional, mental and nutritional impairment status in older patients. This paper was aimed at evaluating the presence of FTS in the patients who died in a geriatric convalescence unit (GCU) (intermediate care facility) and comparing the characteristics of patients with primary FTS (not associated with an evident identifiable disease) and secondary FTS (associated with an evident identifiable disease). Finally, we wanted to analyze if the presence of cognitive impairment before admission was associated with the type of FTS. We analyzed 78 patients retrospectively. The presence of the next three conditions was necessary to define the FTS: (i) Impaired functional status and malnutrition. (ii) Cognitive impairment and/or depression. (iii) Absence of improvement, after a spec fic geriatric intervention program during the hospitalization. Functional status for basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADL and IADL) and the presence of symptoms of cognitive impairment before admission were evaluated. Of the 78 analyzed patients, there were 30 (38.4%) with symptoms of FTS. Seventeen of them (56.6%) had a secondary FTS and 13 (43.3%) a primary one. This last group of patients had a significantly higher mean age (84.7 ± 5.8 vs. 78.6 ± 7.2; p < 0.02) and before admission 2 they were significantly more dependent for ADL: 10 patients (76.9%) vs. 7 (41.0%), χ2 = 3.833, p < 0.05. A higher proportion of subjects with cognitive impairment before admission was found in the group of patients with primary FTS, than in those with secondary FTS although this difference did not reach statistical significance. Patients with primary FTS seem to be older and more dependent for ADL before admission, than those with secondary FTS.
- Cognitive impairment
- Failure to thrive syndrome (FTS)
- Geriatric patients
- Primary FTS
- Secondary FTS