Clustering of comorbidities and other stories . . .

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3327 (Published 24 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h3327

Multimorbidity is a buzzword that can mean anything, given the infinite number of ways that illnesses can combine. But in real life illnesses tend to cluster together, and this is explored in a study based on clinical data from 170 583 patients aged 55 years or more registered at 158 general practices in the Netherlands (Family Practice 2015, doi:10.1093/fampra/cmv037). To make the analysis manageable, the authors drew up a list of top 24 conditions and found that, among the 120 480 patients with one of these, 62% had at least one other. The clustering patterns are illustrated in a series of fascinating figures.

Of course it helps if patients, GPs, and specialists can agree on what conditions people with multimorbidity actually have. A qualitative study from Germany, where GPs and specialists do not always communicate with each other, shows that misunderstandings and false labelling can occur in many ways (BMC Family Practice 2015;16:68, doi:10.1186/s12875-015-0286-x). Multimisperception may be …

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