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01.08.2017 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 6/2017

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie 6/2017

Prevalence of skin diseases in hospitalized geriatric patients

Association with gender, duration of hospitalization and geriatric assessment

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie > Ausgabe 6/2017
Dr. med. E. Makrantonaki, E. Steinhagen-Thiessen, R. Nieczaj, C. C. Zouboulis, R. Eckardt



Improvement of quality of life in old age and prevention of age-associated diseases have become the main focus of research into aging; however, information regarding the skin health status of geriatric patients still remains sparse.


To investigate the extent of dermatological diseases in hospitalized geriatric patients, map the most prevalent ones, check for any gender differences and document any correlations with duration of hospitalization and results of geriatric assessments.

Patients and methods

A total of 110 hospitalized geriatric patients underwent a complete dermatological examination at the Evangelical Geriatric Hospital (Evangelisches Geriatriezentrum) Berlin. The collected information was stratified according to dermatological diagnosis, results of geriatric assessments, duration of hospitalization, age and gender of the patients.


The average number of diagnosed skin diseases per patient was 3.7 ± 1.8 for the female population and 4.3 ± 2.0 for the male population. After categorizing all diagnosed skin diseases, infectious diseases were found to be most common in both female and male patients (55 % and 58 %, respectively) followed by vascular diseases (46.7 % and 54 %, respectively). Precancerous skin lesions and epithelial skin cancer were more frequent in men than in women (20 % vs. 6.7 %, p < 0.037 and 34 % vs. 13.3 %, p < 0.010, respectively). Pruritus showed a positive correlation with the duration of hospitalization and a negative correlation with the Barthel index and Tinetti score on the day of discharge, indicating that pruritus may have a significant impact on the physical condition of elderly multimorbid patients and on the static and dynamic balance abilities.


Our results demonstrate that skin health in the elderly is compromised and disregarded and this should constitute one of the top priorities of healthcare specialists and physicians in the future.

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