Clinical Problems in the Hospitalized Parkinson's Disease Patient: Systematic Review

Oliver H. H. Gerlach*, Ania Winogrodzka, Wim E. J. Weber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The problems Parkinson's disease (PD) patients encounter when admitted to a hospital, are known to be numerous and serious. These problems have been inventoried through a systematic review of literature on reasons for emergency and hospital admissions in PD patients, problems encountered during hospitalization, and possible solutions for the encountered problems using the Pubmed database. PD patients are hospitalized in frequencies ranging from 7 to 28% per year. PD/parkinsonism patients are approximately one and a half times more frequently and generally 2 to 14 days longer hospitalized than non-PD patients. Acute events occurring during hospitalization were mainly urinary infection, confusion, and pressure ulcers. Medication errors were also frequent adverse events. During and after surgery PD patients had an increased incidence of infections, confusion, falls, and decubitus, and 31% of patients was dissatisfied in the way their PD was managed. There are only two studies on medication continuation during surgery and one analyzing the effect of an early postoperative neurologic consultation, and numerous case reports, and opinionated views and reviews including other substitutes for dopaminergic medication intraoperatively. In conclusion, most studies were retrospective on small numbers of patients. The major clinical problems are injuries, infections, poor control of PD, and complications of PD treatment. There are many (un-researched) proposals for improvement. A substantial number of PD patients' admissions might be prevented. There should be guidelines concerning the hospitalized PD patients, with accent on early neurological consultation and team work between different specialities, and incorporating nonoral dopaminergic replacement therapy when necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-208
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


  • Parkinson's disease
  • hospitalization
  • emergency room
  • perioperative

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