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Pneumonia and respiratory tract infections 

Pneumonia and respiratory tract infections
Pneumonia and respiratory tract infections
Oxford Textbook of Geriatric Medicine (3 edn)

Adamantia Liapikou

and Antoni Torres


Acute lower respiratory infections, such as acute bronchitis and pneumonia, are a leading cause of death worldwide and a primary source of morbidity and mortality in older adults. Clinically, elderly patients with community-acquired pneumonia often have non-specific clinical symptoms, altered mental status, or subtle functional decline, making an accurate diagnosis and early antimicrobial treatment difficult, and further worsening the prognosis. Older frail patients living in nursing homes have a high frequency of aspiration pneumonia caused by gram-negative bacilli and anaerobic pathogens.

Over the last few years there has been a controversy over whether the higher mortality of pneumonia is due to inappropriate therapy or the poor functional status of these patients. Prevention strategies of respiratory infections in older people include the prevention and management of aspiration, reduction in the use of neuroleptic medication, influenza vaccination, and possibly the use of the newer antiviral drugs.

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