BMC Geriatr. 2022 Feb 3;22(1):95. doi: 10.1186/s12877-022-02780-7.
BACKGROUND: At the emergency department, there is a need for an instrument which is quick and easy to use to identify geriatric patients with the highest risk of mortality. The so- called 'hanging chin sign', meaning that the mandibula projects over one or more ribs on the chest X-ray, could be such an instrument. This study aims to investigate if the hanging chin sign is a predictor of mortality in geriatric patients admitted through the emergency department.
METHODS: We performed an observational retrospective cohort study in a Dutch teaching hospital. Patients of ≥65 years who were admitted to the geriatric ward following an emergency department visit were included. The primary outcome of this study was mortality. Secondary outcomes included the length of admission, discharge destination and the reliability compared to patient-related variables and the APOP screener.
RESULTS: Three hundred ninety-six patients were included in the analysis. Mean follow up was 300 days; 207 patients (52%) died during follow up. The hanging chin sign was present in 85 patients (21%). Patients with the hanging chin sign have a significantly higher mortality risk during admission (OR 2.94 (1.61 to 5.39), p < 0.001), within 30 days (OR 2.49 (1.44 to 4.31), p = 0.001), within 90 days (OR 2.16 (1.31 to 3.56), p = 0.002) and within end of follow up (OR 2.87 (1.70 to 4.84),p < 0.001). A chest X-ray without a PA view or lateral view was also associated with mortality. This technical detail of the chest x-ray and the hanging chin sign both showed a stronger association with mortality than patient-related variables or the APOP screener.
CONCLUSIONS: The hanging chin sign and other details of the chest x-ray were strong predictors of mortality in geriatric patients presenting at the emergency department and admitted to the geriatric ward. Compared to other known predictors, they seem to do even better in predicting mortality.