A large Taiwan population-based cohort study identified several risk factors, including chronic heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and tooth decay, associated with increased hospitalization of Parkinson’s disease patients due to pneumonia.
The study, “Risk factors for pneumonia among patients with Parkinson’s disease: a Taiwan nationwide population-based study,” was published in the open access online journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.
Among the comorbidities of Parkinson’s disease, pneumonia represents a major cause of hospitalization among these patients. But there is a lack of studies investigating the risk factors for pneumonia development in Parkinson’s disease patients.
Now, researchers have performed a nationwide population-based cohort study with Parkinson’s disease patients in Taiwan. The team enrolled newly diagnosed patients (diagnosed between 2000 and 2009) from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database. They analyzed Parkinson’s disease patients who were admitted to the hospital due to pneumonia, and compared them to Parkinson’s patients without pneumonia, to determine the risk factors associated with pneumonia development.
Out of 2,001 enrolled patients who were followed for a median of 5.8 years, 381 (19.0 percent) were hospitalized during the study period due to pneumonia. Data analysis identified several risk factors for hospitalization with pneumonia in patients with Parkinson’s disease: chronic heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and oral hygiene were particularly associated with an increased risk for pneumonia.
In addition, older female Parkinson’s patients with chronic heart failure and older male Parkinson’s patients with chronic kidney disease showed a significantly higher risk of pneumonia. However, when male patients with Parkinson’s disease were treated for tooth decay, they showed decreased risks for developing pneumonia (especially in men age 70 or younger).
In this population-based study, chronic heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and tooth decay were found to be significant risk factors for pneumonia hospitalization among patients with Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, early and prompt recognition of comorbid physical diseases and risk factors in patients with Parkinson’s disease may help reduce the burden of pneumonia.
The authors noted some limitations to the study, including the lack of other potential risk factors contributing to pneumonia, such as the severity of comorbidities and lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.