Clinical characteristics and healthcare utilisation associated with undiagnosed cognitive impairment in elderly patients with diabetes in a primary care setting: a population-based cohort study

Eugene Merzon, Miriam Shpigelman, Shlomo Vinker, Avivit Golan Cohen, Ilan Green, Ariel Israel, T. Cukierman-Yaffe, Roy Eldor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives The objective of this study is to report the prevalence, clinical characteristics and healthcare utilisation of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and previously undiagnosed cognitive impairment who were identified as having a low Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score. Design A population-based cohort study comparing clinical characteristics, medications, outpatient and inpatient care of patients with a MoCA score <19 to MoCA >26 using descriptive statistics, linear regression and multivariate logistic regression. Setting Electronic medical records of a large health maintenance organisation in Israel. Participants 350 patients, age >65 with T2DM who participated in a cognitive function screening initiative using MoCA, and had a follow-up visit during the 12 months after screening. Results 130 (37.1%) had a MoCA score >26 and 68 (19.4%) <19. Patients with MoCA<19 had more diabetes-related complications, poorer glycaemic and lipid control, fewer visits to their main primary care physician (PCP; 3.9±3.2 vs 7.3±4.2 visits/year p=0.008), shorter duration of PCP visits (8.3±4.5 vs 4.0±3.5 min, p=0.007), fewer nutritionist and endocrinologist visits, and lower participation in diabetes or smoking cessation workshops. They were less likely to be treated with glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor (DPP-4), or sodium-glucose transport protein 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors and more likely to receive insulin or sulfonylurea. Moreover, they had more emergency room visits (ER; 15 (11.5%) vs 16 (23.5%), p=0.019), hospitalisations (8 (6.2%) vs 22 (32.4%), p=0.001), and longer hospital stays (4.3±3.2 vs 14.5±9.8, p=0.001). Using statistical models, MoCA<19 was identified as a risk factor for fewer and shorter PCP visits and more ER visits and hospitalisations. Conclusions This study highlights the high prevalence of undiagnosed severe cognitive impairment in elderly patients with T2DM and its association with poor outpatient care. Appropriate interventions are needed to improve outcomes and prevent hospitalisation in this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere078996
JournalBMJ Open
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Dementia
  • General diabetes
  • Primary Health Care

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