Tanushree Maitra1, Riturag Thakuria2, Atanu Basumatary3

Dyselectrolytemia is a common problem affecting elderly hospitalised patients. Although hypo/hypernatremia is the most common electrolyte abnormality found in elderly, abnormalities in other electrolytes may also occur in various settings. Information regarding the pattern of electrolyte abnormalities in elderly is lacking in this part of the country. With this background the following case control study was taken up with the following aims and objectives.
• To study the various patterns of dyselectrolytemia in elderly and compare them with young.
• To evaluate and compare the various aetiological factors and comorbid conditions involved in the occurrence of electrolyte abnormalities in these groups of patients.
The mean age of the study population was 66.174 years (SD- 6.512 years) and of the control group was 41.94 years (SD - 10.924 years). Hyponatraemia was the most common electrolyte abnormality encountered in both the groups (57% vs. 60%, p- 0.61). The incidence of hyperkalaemia was significantly higher in the older age group (19.5% vs. 11.5%, p-0.03). Also, in the elderly, the presence of abnormalities in more than one electrolyte level was significantly higher than the young (25.5% vs. 14%, p -0.005). The average length of hospital stay in the elderly was 10.05 days (SD- 4.40 days) whereas in the young was 6.35 days (SD- 3.27 days), p <0.0001. The mortality rate was also significantly higher in the elderly group (16% vs. 3.5%, p<0.0001).
Dyselectrolytemia is a common pathological condition encountered in the elderly population which is associated with a very high morbidity and mortality when compared with the young. Hence, elderly patients particularly with associated comorbid conditions should be screened routinely for the presence of associated electrolyte disturbances.