Pandemic 2009 A(H1N1) Infection Requiring Hospitalization of Elderly Spanish Adults


Address correspondence to Jordi Carratalà, Department of Infectious Diseases, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge—IDIBELL, Feixa Llargo s/n, 08907, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail:



To describe the clinical presentation and prognosis of elderly adults hospitalized with pandemic 2009 A(H1N1) influenza infection and to compare these data with those of younger patients.


Prospective, observational, multicenter study.


Thirteen hospitals in Spain.


Adults admitted to the hospital with confirmed pandemic 2009 A(H1N1) influenza infection.


Demographic, clinical, laboratory, radiological, and outcome variables.


Between June 12 and November 10, 2009, 585 adults with confirmed 2009 A(H1N1) influenza were hospitalized, of whom 50 (8.5%) were aged 65 and older (median age 72, range 65–87). Older adults (≥65) were more likely to have associated comorbidities (88.0% vs 51.2%; P < .001), primarily chronic pulmonary diseases (46.0% vs 27.3%; P < .001). Lower respiratory tract symptoms and signs such as dyspnea (60.0% vs 45.6%) and wheezing (46.0% vs 27.8%; P = .007) were also more common in these elderly adults, although pulmonary infiltrates were present in just 14 (28.0%) of the older adults, compared with 221 (41.3%) of the younger adults (P = .06). Multilobar involvement was less frequent in elderly adults with pulmonary infiltrates than younger adults with pulmonary infiltrates (21.4% vs 60.0%; P = .05). Rhinorrhea (4.0% vs 21.9%; P = .003), myalgias (42.0% vs 59.1%; P = .01), and sore throat (14.0% vs 29.2%; P = .02) were more frequent in younger adults. Early antiviral therapy (<48 hours) was similar in the two groups (34.0% vs 37.9%; P = .58). Two older adults (4.0%) died during hospitalization, compared with 11 (2.1%) younger adults (P = .30).


Elderly adults with 2009 A(H1N1) influenza had fewer viral-like upper respiratory symptoms than did younger adults. Pneumonia was more frequent in younger adults. No significant differences were observed in hospital mortality.