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Antibiotic Treatment of Community-acquired Pneumonia in Older Adults

Antibiotic Treatment of Community-acquired Pneumonia in Older Adults

Teaser: 

Theodore K. Marras, MD, FRCPC, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA; Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common disease in the older adult with significant mortality. The following review focuses on the antibiotic management of CAP, with specific reference to the older adult. Common etiologic organisms and organism-specific risk factors that tend to be associated with increasing age are presented. The rationale behind initial empiric antibiotic therapy is discussed and recent guidelines for the selection of empiric antibiotic therapy are compared. A synthesis of guidelines for antibiotic selection and recommendations regarding the switch from parenteral to oral therapy are presented.

Introduction
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common infectious disease, the incidence of which is consistently associated with increasing age. The overall incidence of CAP has been reported at 10 to 14 per 1,000 patients per year,1,2 and 30 per 1,000 among those older than 75 years.2,3 Compared with people 60-69 years of age, those 70 years or older had a relative risk of developing CAP of 1.5,4 independent of the additional risk conferred by heart disease and institutionalization.

The Aging Lung: Implications for Diagnosis and Treatment of Respiratory Illnesses in the Elderly

The Aging Lung: Implications for Diagnosis and Treatment of Respiratory Illnesses in the Elderly

Teaser: 

Benjamin Chiam, MD, Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Division, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
Don D. Sin, MD, FRCP(C), Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Division, University of Alberta, and The Institute of Health Economics, Edmonton, AB.

Introduction
Respiratory conditions are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although they are currently listed as the fifth leading cause of death in Canada, respiratory diseases are predicted to be the third leading cause of mortality by the year 2020, following ischemic heart disease and stroke.1 Furthermore, since the prevalence of these conditions increases with age, the adverse impact of respiratory illnesses on the Canadian health care system will grow enormously over the next few decades as the overall population ages2 and treatments for other common conditions, such as ischemic heart disease, stroke and diabetes, improve. A good understanding of the aging process of the respiratory system is clearly needed to formulate better strategies to prevent, diagnose and manage respiratory conditions in Canada.

Why are Respiratory Diseases so Prevalent in the Elderly?
The lungs of elderly persons are subject to a lifetime of exposure to known and unknown harmful agents. Decades may pass before the physical manifestations of cigarette smoke, pollution and other noxious environmental agents become clinically apparent.

Issues in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Issues in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Teaser: 

Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, MD, Family Physician and CME Lecturer, Toronto, ON.

Introduction
With the demographic shift in Canada--the "greying" of its population--arthritis is a growing health concern. A leading cause of long-term disability in Canada, arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases result in $17.8 billion in lost productivity annually.1 Currently, four million Canadians are affected by arthritis, and the number of people afflicted is expected to double in the next 20 years.2 Already, 33% of Canada's seniors have osteoarthritis,2 the most common form of arthritis in older adults.

Effective osteoarthritis care requires a spectrum of approaches on the biopsychosocial model including: advice on carrying out daily activities (coping with fatigue, protecting joints, using orthotics); controlling pain through approaches such as relaxation therapy, massage therapy, hydrotherapy or acupuncture; using walking/assistive devices; and learning more about arthritis from organizations or websites. Self-help groups are a particularly valuable resource for arthritis patients.

Many patients ask about alternative remedies such as glucosamine or chondroitin, which have shown some effectiveness in studies. A full discussion of complementary therapies for arthritis is presented on the Arthritis Society website at www.arthritis.ca.

Medication remains the mainstay for controlling arthritis pain of all types.

Cholinesterase Inhibitors in the Treatment of Vascular Dementia

Cholinesterase Inhibitors in the Treatment of Vascular Dementia

Teaser: 

Chris MacKnight, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.

Introduction
Vascular dementia is common, and currently there is no accepted therapy aimed at the cognitive symptoms. Prevention of further strokes is, of course, well established.1 Evidence is accumulating that the cholinesterase inhibitors, proven therapy in Alzheimer disease (AD), may also be of use in vascular dementia (VaD). This paper will summarize that evidence.

Epidemiology of Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia can be diagnosed when there is a high degree of suspicion that cognitive impairment and stroke are related. Various criteria exist, which unfortunately do not overlap to any great extent, but all share several features.2 These include: the presence of stroke, either clinical or found on neuroimaging; the presence of focal neurologic signs, such as asymmetric power or a positive Babinski response; and a characteristic course, with a sudden onset or stepwise progression. For the highest degree of confidence in the diagnosis, a temporal relationship between the stroke and the dementia is required.

In most surveys of older adults, vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia in the community, after AD. In Canada, the prevalence of VaD is 1.5% in people 65 and over, and 5.1% for AD.3 Other surveys have found similar values.

Aggressive Treatment for Prostate Cancer in the Elderly: When is it Appropriate?

Aggressive Treatment for Prostate Cancer in the Elderly: When is it Appropriate?

Teaser: 

James Brown, MD, Minimally Invasive Urologic Oncology Fellow
Department of Urology, Thomas Jefferson University, Assistant Professor of Urology
Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA, USA.

Leonard G. Gomella, MD, Bernard Godwin Associate Professor of Prostate Cancer
Director of Urologic Oncology, Department of Urology, Kimmel Cancer Center,
Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Abstract
The treatment options for localized prostate cancer are extensive and highly controversial. Although there is general agreement that symptomatic metastatic disease should be treated by hormonal ablation, there is no consensus on how to treat patients with localized disease. While an argument can be made not to screen any patient for prostate cancer, many organizations, including the American Urological Association, support both screening and the treatment of prostate cancer in men with a life expectancy of greater than 10 years. In the asymptomatic, older man with localized, low-risk disease, characterized by a low Gleason score, low PSA and low clinical stage, observation may be the treatment of choice. However, in the older man with localized prostate cancer and high-risk features such as a high Gleason score, aggressive treatment is warranted since many of these men will progress and ultimately die of prostate cancer.

Parkinsonian Dementia: Diagnosis, Differentiation and Principles of Treatment

Parkinsonian Dementia: Diagnosis, Differentiation and Principles of Treatment

Teaser: 

Ali Rajput, MBBS, FRCPC and Alex Rajput, MD, FRCPC
Division of Neurology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.

The terms parkinsonism and Parkinson syndrome (PS) are used interchangeably. Two of the three cardinal features--bradykinesia, rigidity and tremor--are necessary to make a diagnosis of PS. Several pathological entities and neuroleptic drugs may produce PS, the most common being Parkinson's disease or idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD), which is characterized by marked neuronal loss in the substantia nigra and Lewy body (LB) inclusions (Figure 1 is not available online). The prevalence of PS in the Canadian general population is estimated at 300 per 100,000.1 The mean age of onset is 62 years, with both incidence and prevalence rates increasing with age. In a Canadian survey of a community population over age 65 years, 3% had PS.2

Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most common dementing illness in the industrialized countries. Marked cortical neuronal loss, plaques and intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles are pathological features of AD (Figures 2A and 2B are not available online). More than 5% of the general population over 65 years of age have AD.

Because both PD and AD occur in old age, some individuals will have both. Pathological studies suggest that this overlap is higher than expected in unselected large autopsy series.

Catechol-O-methyltransferase Inhibition in Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

Catechol-O-methyltransferase Inhibition in Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

Teaser: 

Zhigao Huang, MD, PhD, Clinical Fellow,
Ajit Kumar, DM, Clinical Fellow,
Joseph Tsui, MD, FRCPC, Professor, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Introduction
Long-term treatment with dopaminomimetic drugs is often complicated by the occurrence of motor complications in Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients. This is especially true with levodopa, which remains to date the mainstay of treatment of PD. These motor complications consist of fluctuations and dyskinesias. Fluctuations refer to predictable or unpredictable changes of motor response that occur in relation to levodopa administration. Dyskinesias refer to abnormal excessive movements. Motor fluctuations can affect up to 50% of PD patients after five years of levodopa treatment.1 The main categories of fluctuations are 'wearing-off' and 'on-off.' Clinically, 'wearing-off' is characterized by a shortened duration of motor response and a rapidly waning effect in response to each oral dose of levodopa. 'On-off' refers to random fluctuations in motor response seemingly unrelated to levodopa administration.2

In early PD, the motor response to levodopa administration lasts longer than would be inferred from the plasma half-life of levodopa. Presumably, this phenomenon is related to surviving nigrostriatal neurons being able to store dopamine (DA) synthesized from exogenous levodopa, thus serving a buffer-like function.

Parkinson’s Disease: An Update on Therapeutic Strategies

Parkinson’s Disease: An Update on Therapeutic Strategies

Teaser: 

Daniel S Sa, MD and Robert Chen, MBBChir, MSc, FRCPC
Division of Neurology and Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

The treatment of Parkinson's Disease (PD) has undergone major changes over the past decade with the introduction of new drugs and the development of more advanced and reliable surgical procedures. However, the role of each of these different treatment alternatives is not yet clearly defined. Frequently raised questions include the most appropriate treatment in early PD and determining which patients with more advanced PD are suitable for surgery. In this review, we will attempt to address some of these issues.

Initial Treatment
The first decision to make is when to begin treatment. Since there is no therapeutic strategy proven to halt or slow disease progression, treatment initiation should be related to the level of disability. Therefore, drug therapy should be initiated when symptoms are interfering with social or occupational functions. This is usually due to impaired motor function but sometimes is related to embarrassment.

The next question is which treatment to offer. There is a long-standing debate regarding whether to start with levodopa or dopamine agonists. The levodopa proponents argue that it is still the most effective therapy for PD, and early treatment (before postural instability) has been proven to reduce mortality.

Cardiac Tumours: Presentation and Treatment

Cardiac Tumours: Presentation and Treatment

Teaser: 

Nimesh D. Desai1, MD, Jagdish W . Butany, MBBS MS, FRCPC2
Departments of Cardiac Surgery
1 and Pathology2, Toronto General Hospital / University Health Network and University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Introduction
Cardiac tumours are uncommon,when compared to other tumours. A few of these are more frequently seen in the young (first and second decade of life),while most are more common in older individuals ( fourth decade of life and later). When they occur they are more likely to be metastatic than primary cardiac neoplasms, the latter more likely benign than malignant, and the former more common in older individuals.Their manifestations are varied and invariably pose a diagnostic challenge. The first pre-mortem diagnosis of an intracardiac myxoma was not made until 1952, using angiography.1 Today, the accurate clinical diagnosis of cardiac tumours is made with non-invasive techniques such as echocardiography.

Incidence
Autopsy studies have shown an incidence of between 0.0017 and 0.3 percent for primary cardiac tumours.2,3 In adults the mean age at diagnosis of tumours is: sarcoma 40 years; myxoma 50 years; mesothelioma, 57 years; papillary fibroelastoma, 59 years; and lipomatous hypertrophy, 64 years.4 The incidence of secondary or metastatic cardiac tumours is significantly greater than that of primary tumours and is approximately 1.23%.

Ovarian Cancer in Older Women: Management and Treatment Options

Ovarian Cancer in Older Women: Management and Treatment Options

Teaser: 

Natalie S. Gould MD, Fellow and Clinical Instructor
D. Scott McMeekin MD, Assistant Professor Section of Gynecologic Oncology,
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Oklahoma Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.

Ovarian cancer is a disease of older women, with 48% over the age of 65 at diagnosis.1 It is also the most deadly of gynecologic malignancies, accounting for more deaths than cervical and endometrial carcinoma combined in the US. An estimated 23,400 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 2001 with 13,900 deaths in the US.2 As our population ages, the number of women affected by ovarian cancer will increase. Cancer limited to an ovary is typically silent and discovered incidentally on exam or at surgical exploration for other reasons. Patients with disease that has spread beyond the ovaries may present with vague gastrointestinal symptoms, bloating, diarrhea, pain and changes in bowel or bladder habits. On physical exam, patients will have a pelvic mass and often ascites. Due to the absence of symptoms until the malignancy has spread beyond the ovaries, and the lack of good screening tests, approximately 70% of patients present with advanced disease and overall survival is poor.3 (Table 1).

Initial management involves cytoreductive surgery aimed at removal of the greatest volume of tumour (Table 2).