Drug Burden Index, Physical Function, and Adverse Outcomes in Older Hospitalized Patients

Estelle Lowry, Richard Woodman, Roy Soiza, Sarah Hilmer, Arduino Mangoni

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    65 Citations (Scopus)


    The Drug Burden Index (DBI) is associated with poorer physical function in stable, community-dwelling, older people. The authors speculated that a higher DBI is associated with reduced physical function (Barthel Index, primary outcome) and predicts adverse outcomes (length of stay, in-hospital mortality, secondary outcomes) in frail, acutely ill, older hospitalized patients. Clinical and demographic characteristics, Barthel Index, DBI, and full medication exposure were recorded on admission in 362 consecutive patients (84 ± 7 years old) admitted to 2 acute geriatric units between February 1, 2010, and June 30, 2010. A unit increase in DBI was associated with a 29% reduction in the odds of being in a higher Barthel Index quartile than a lower quartile (odds ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.55-0.91; P =.007). The Barthel Index components mostly affected were bathing (P <.001), grooming (P <.001), dressing (P =.001), bladder function (P <.001), transfers (P =.001), mobility (P <.001), and stairs (P <.001). A higher DBI independently predicted length of stay (hazard ratio, 1.23; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.42; P =.005) but not in-hospital mortality (hazard ratio, 1.17; 95% confidence interval, 0.72-1.90; P =.52). Higher DBI scores on admission are independently associated with lower scores of the Barthel Index and predict length of stay among older hospitalized patients. The DBI may be useful in the acute setting to improve risk stratification.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1584-1591
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacology
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


    • Barthel index
    • Drug burden index
    • older patients
    • outcomes
    • physical function


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