Anne G. McLeod, MD, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto; Staff Physician, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, University Health Network, Toronto, ON.
Bleeding in the elderly is a common problem. Careful assessment of a patient's bleeding history and physical examination is essential to try to establish if a clinically significant bleeding disorder is present. Initial laboratory testing should include a complete blood count, blood film review, PT/INR and PTT. Common etiologies of bleeding in the elderly include thrombocytopenia and medications such as Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents and anti-coagulants. Unfortunately, no single approach to the treatment of coagulopathy exists; rather, a clear understanding of the cause of the bleeding disorder is needed to direct management.
Key words: coagulopathy, elderly, bleeding, hemostasis, clotting.