Dementia is a progressive incurable illness. In the advanced stages of the disease, decisions need to be made whether to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. This article reviews the principles of deciding a patient’s best interests when he or she lacks mental capacity, the role of advance statements, and principles for the practising physician to consider in common withholding/withdrawing treatment scenarios that arise in clinical practice, such as artificial feeding, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and antibiotics for pneumonia.
Key words: dementia, palliative care, withholding and withdrawing treatment, artificial feeding, resuscitation, antibiotics.
Infective endocarditis (IE) is a rare but potentially devastating clinical entity with a well-delineated pathogenesis. While previously thought to be a disorder of younger individuals, older adults now represent one of the highest risk groups for the acquisition of and adverse outcomes related to IE. Prior to focusing on the updated recommendations for IE prophylaxis and the rationale behind them, we briefly review the clinical aspects of IE in the general population, as well as special considerations for older adults.
Key words: endocarditis, prophylaxis, older adults, cardiovascular disease, antibiotics.
The incidence of cancer continues to increase, and many persons receiving treatment for cancer are older adults. Fever in older adults with cancer can be an emergency. Any patient with fever and neutropenia should be given antibiotics as soon as possible. In addition to the immune senescence associated with aging, individuals with cancer have immunodeficiencies specific to their underlying malignancy, and these predispose them to specific infections. Older adults are also at higher risk of the complications of chemotherapy, including infections. Prompt evaluation and judicious management of the febrile cancer patient can reduce morbidity and mortality. The following review considers an approach to the etiologies and evaluation of fever in cancer including the infectious and noninfectious causes.
Key words: fever, cancer, older adults, antibiotics, neutropenia.
Antimicrobial agents are essential for the treatment of patients with bacterial infectious diseases. Unfortunately, the global escalation of antibiotic resistant pathogens in both the community and hospital settings have compromised the use of some compounds for treating both common and uncommon infections. Over the past three to four years, several new or modified compounds have been approved and may have applicability in treating a wide range of infections in older patients. Some brief characteristics of these compounds and their appropriate indications are summarized.
Key words: older adult, antimicrobial agents, antibiotics, fluoroquino-lones, ketolides.
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