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Comorbidity

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

In medicine and in psychiatry, comorbidity is defined as a preexisting concomitant but unrelated disease or diseases, in addition to a primary disease, disorder, initial diagnosis, or index condition. The term comorbidity is also used to describe the effect of all other disorders or diseases an individual patient might have other than the primary diagnosis or disease of interest. Results from the first National Comorbidity Survey, released in 1994, revealed that 79% of all seriously ill people (inclusive of all diseases) were comorbid. Comorbidity has serious implications for the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and outcome of affected individuals. Comorbidity may also affect the ability of affected individuals to function and may be used as a prognostic indicator for length of hospital stay, cost, and mortality.

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