Complex multimorbidity and mortality in Japan: a prospective propensity-matched cohort study.

We published a study from BMJ Open.

Kato D, Kawachi I, Saito J, Kondo N. Complex multimorbidity and mortality in Japan: a prospective propensity-matched cohort study. BMJ Open. 2021 Aug 2;11(8):e046749. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046749 PMID: 34341044.


    Objectives: There are limitations to defining multimorbidity (MM) based on a simple count of diseases. To address these limitations, the concept of complex MM (CMM) focuses on how many body systems are affected in a single patient, rather than counting comorbid conditions. This study compared the prediction of mortality among older Japanese adults between CMM and conventional MM.

    Design: A population-based prospective cohort study.

    Setting: The Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study, a nationwide longitudinal cohort study, which ran from 2010 to 2016.

    Participants: Functionally independent individuals who were older than 65 and had complete illness data at the time of baseline survey were eligible.

    Outcomes measure: CMM was defined as the coexistence of 3 or more body system disorders at baseline. We calculated the propensity for each individual to develop CMM based on a wide array of characteristics, including socioeconomic status and health behaviours. Individuals with and without CMM were then matched on their propensity scores before we estimated overall survival using a log-rank test.

    Results: Our 6-year follow-up included 38 889 older adults: 20 233 (52.0%) and 7565 (19.5%) adults with MM and CMM, respectively. In the MM-matched cohort (n=15 666 pairs), the presence of MM was significantly associated with increased mortality (HR 1.07; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.14; p=0.02 by the log-rank test). A similar mortality association was found in the CMM-matched cohort (n=7524 pairs, HR, 1.07; 95% CI 0.99 to 1.16; p=0.08 by the log-rank test).

    Conclusion: This is the first study to report the association between CMM and mortality among older adults in Japan. MM and CMM predict mortality in older adults to a similar degree. This finding needs to be replicated with more precision in larger samples.

    Keywords: epidemiology; geriatric medicine; multimorbidity; social medicine.