Journal Article

Community-Acquired Pneumonia in the Elderly

Thomas T. Yoshikawa and Thomas J. Marrie

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 31, issue 4, pages 1066-1078
Published in print October 2000 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online October 2000 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Community-Acquired Pneumonia in the Elderly

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Pneumonia in the elderly is a common and serious problem with a clinical presentation that can differ from that in younger patients. Older patients with pneumonia complain of significantly fewer symptoms than do younger patients, and delirium commonly occurs. Indeed, delirium may be the only manifestation of pneumonia in this group of patients. Alcoholism, asthma, immunosuppression, and age >70 years are risk factors for community-acquired pneumonia in the elderly. Among nursing home residents, the following are risk factors for pneumonia: advanced age, male sex, difficulty in swallowing, inability to take oral medications, profound disability, bedridden state, and urinary incontinence. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of pneumonia among the elderly. Aspiration pneumonia is underdiagnosed in this group of patients, and tuberculosis always should be considered. In this population an etiologic diagnosis is rarely available when antimicrobial therapy must be instituted. Use of the guidelines for treatment of pneumonia issued by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, with modification for treatment in the nursing home setting, is recommended.

Journal Article.  11055 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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