Stroke is a common disease in the older population. Many gender differences are seen in the epidemiology, outcomes, and treatment of geriatric stroke. Although these differences are not fully understood, recognition of gender differences may help with appropriate treatment and improve outcomes.
Key words: stroke, gender, outcomes, prevention, treatment.
The burden of cardiovascular disease increases significantly with age. One of the most complex decisions facing clinicians is whether or not to perform coronary revascularization in an older patient. Our review of recent evidence on revascularization therapies for aging patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes found an inverse relationship between age and the use of evidence-based medications as well as revascularization procedures. Older patients undergoing revascularization had a higher likelihood of adverse outcomes compared with younger patients undergoing revascularization. However, older patients who underwent revascularization had significantly better outcomes than their counterparts who did not undergo revascularization, suggesting that they deserve the same consideration as younger patients in the use of coronary interventions.
Key words: acute coronary syndromes, percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, evidence-based medications, outcomes.
Systolic murmurs in older adults require investigation with echocardiography. The most common cause is aortic sclerosis, which does not require therapy, followed by aortic stenosis. Surgery is indicated for aortic stenosis in patients with symptoms (fatigue, shortness of breath, angina and/or syncope) and in asymptomatic patients with left ventricular dysfunction or marked hypertrophy. Older aortic stenosis patients can undergo surgery with minimal increased risk, excellent long-term outcomes, and marked improvements in quality of life. Such patients may be referred directly to cardiac surgeons in order to limit age discrimination that may be present within the medical community.
Key words: aortic stenosis, congestive heart failure, aortic valve replacement, quality of life, outcomes.
Lynn McNicoll, MD, FRCPC, Department of Internal Medicine, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI.
Delirium in older hospitalized persons in non-critical care settings is associated with higher morbidity, mortality, and worse long-term outcomes. Delirium in critically ill persons is a growing field of research. This article presents recent research indicating a high frequency of delirium in critical care. Several studies have shown that delirium in critical care is associated with poor short-term as well as long-term outcomes, including increased length of stay, persistent cognitive deficits, and hospital and one-year mortality. Further research on strategies to prevent delirium in critical care may improve short- and long-term outcomes.
Key words: delirium, critical care, aging, outcomes, older adults.
Yoanna Skrobik, MD, FRCP(C), Director, Adult Critical Care Training Program, Université de Montreal; Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montreal, Montreal, QC.
Delirium is a morbid and common complication in the critically ill patient. Its recognition is made more difficult by the inability to interview the intubated patient, and by the presence of drugs and confounding comorbidities. Delirium screening (described with the ICDSC and the CAM-ICU) with tools specifically designed for the acute care setting can help the nurse or clinician identify its presence. Risk factors for delirium in the critical care setting differ from those described in other populations. Treatment is currently empiric.
Key words: delirium, critical care, outcomes, intensive care, screening.
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