From January 1989 to June 1995, 31 patients were admitted to our hospital with acute myocardial infarction (15 were tourists and 16 were Kusatsu residents) and 40 were admitted with cerebral infarction (15 tourists and 25 Kusatsu residents). We examined the possibility that hot hot-spring bathing was related to the occurrence of their illness. Fifteen patients with acute myocardial infarction (9 tourists and 6 Kusatsu residents) and 27 patients with cerebral infarction (11 tourists and 16 Kusatsu residents) had a hot hot-spring bath within 24 hours before the onset of symptoms. In 12 of the 15 with acute myocardial infarction (6 tourists and 6 Kusatsu residents) and in 15 of the 27 with cerebral infarction (9 tourists and 6 Kusatsu residents), symptoms began within 3 hours after they began bathing. In 2 of the remaining 3 patients with acute myocardial infarction and in 8 of the remaining 12 patients with cerebral infarction, bathing at night was followed by the onset of symptoms the next morning (more than 3 hours later). Acute myocardial infarction and cerebral infarction within 3 hours after hot hotspring bathing may be attributable to transient change in blood pressure, heart rate, blood viscosity, fibrinolytic activity, and platelet function. We described previously that hot hot-spring bathing at night can accentuate the nocturnal decrease in blood pressure and can make the early morning increase in blood viscosity more abrupt. These phenomena may account for the occurrence of acute myocardial infarction and cerebral infarction early in the morning.
To investigate current drug therapy for elderly hypertensive patients, we performed a case-card study at Sapporo Medical University and its branch hospitals. The case-card was designed to show prescriptions given for hypertension, complications, and blood pressure. In the 2897 valid cases, calcium antagonists were prescribed in 76.3%, followed by β-blockers (31.4%), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) (25.1%) and natriuretic diuretics (18.1%). When the patients were divided into an elderly group (≥65 y.o., n=1475) and a non-elderly group (<65 y.o., n=1422), β-blockers and ACE-I were found to be more frequently used in the non-elderly group, and diuretics were more frequently prescribed in the elderly goup. Calcium antagonists were the most frequently used drugs, irrespective of age. As monotherapy drugs, calcium antagonists were chosen most frequently in both groups. Diuretics were the second most frequently used drug in the elderly group, but β-blockers occupied that position in the younger group and these patients as a whole. In the elderly group, the manner of prescription was analyzed according to major complications. In patients with ischemic heart disease, β-blockers and diuretics were used more frequently than in patients without that condition. Diuretics were prescribed more frequently in patients with renal dysfunction. Calcium antagonists and ACE-I were used more frequently in the patients with diabetes mellitus. The same differences were found in the non-elderly patients with those complications. However, among patients with stroke, calcium antagonists were more frequently used in the elderly group and ACE-I were perforred in the younger patients. In conclusion, calcium antagonists were used very often regardless of age, and the other drugs were used according to age-dependent differences in pathophysiologic mechanism.
Cardiac function was evaluated in 53 elderly patients with hematologic malignancies who were being treated with Doxorubicin (DXR). The left ventricular ejection fraction was measured by radionuclide angiocardiography, the washout rate by 123I-MIBG mycardial SPECT, the extent and severity scores by 123I-BMIPP myocardial SPECT, and the frequency of premature ventricular contractions by Holter electrocardiography. 1) In some patients, both the washout rate and the extent and severity scores were abnormally high before treatment. 2) Because the washout rate correlated with the total dose of DXR, it may be an early indicator of cardiac sympathetic nervous dysfunction. 3) The left ventriculor ejection freaction correlated with the extent and severity scores, but not with the washout rate or with the frequency of premature ventricular contractions. 4) The washout rate correlated with the frequency of premature ventricular contractions. These data show that elderly patients had abnormal cardiac function even before treatment with DXR; that cardiac sympathetic dysfunction and cardiac mitochondrial dysfunction developed at total DXR doses of 250 to 300mg/m2 or higher; and that the left ventricular ejection fraction was less than or equol to 50% in many patients. Consequently, when DXR is used to treat elderly patients, multimodal evaluation of cardiac function is necessary to detect cardiotoxicity and to determine the optimal total dose and the optimal dosage.
Between 1984 and September 1995, we prescribed home oxygen therapy for 155 patients (96 men and 59 women), mean age 68.6 years) with chronic respiratory failure. Here we describe the underlying diseases, laboratory findings (arterial blood gas analysis and pulmonary-function tests), and outcomes. We also report differences between those who were of least 70 years old (n=82) and those less than 70 years old (n=73). The underlying diseases were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 55 patients, lung cancer in 33, old pulmonary tuberculosis in 29, and pulmonary fibrosis in 27. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, especially pulmonary emphysema, was the most frequently encountered underlying disease in the older patients, whereas pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer were most common in the younger patients. The duration of observation ranged from less than 1 month to 10 years. At the time of this study 82 patients had died, 31 were still being treated as outpatients at our hospital, 32 had transferred to other hospitals, and the status of 10 patients was unknown. The older and younger patients did not differ with regard to arterial blood gases, pulmonary function at the time home oxygen therapy began, or outcome: We believe that home oxygen therapy was very beneficial in these patients with chronic respiratory failure, because their quality of life improved after the start of this therapy.
Rhabdomyolysis is not common in the elderly. Two elderly patients with rhabdomyolysis and respiratory infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae. The first patient was a 71-year-old woman with bronchiectasis who admitted to our hospital due to pneumonia. The second patient was an 84-year-old man who was admitted because of appetite loss, fever, and a cough producing of yellowish sputum. In both patients, sputum cultures were positive for S. pneumoniae, but blood cultures were not. The serum creatine kinase levels peaked on the day of admission at levels ten to thirty times higher than fold above the upper limit of normal; the serum lactate dehydrogenase levels were 1.5 times higher than the upper limit of normal. The creatine kinase levels returned to normal 5 to 7 days after admission, treated with antibiotics and recovered from pneumonia. The cases of these two patients, along with those described in previous reports of rhabdomyolysis associated with pneumococcal pneumonia indicate that measuring the serum creatine kinase level is important in detecting rhabdomyolysis, especially in elderly patients with respiratory infection caused by S. pneumoniae, and detection may help to prevent renal failure.
A 67-year-old woman without organic heart disease had symptomatic ventricular premature contractions. Because class Ia, Ib and IV antiarrhythmic drugs did not prevent the premature contractions, the patient was treated with flecainide acetate at a dose of 50mg t.i.d. Adverse reactions were noted. After measurement of the blood drug level, the dose was reduced to 50mg b.i.d. The adverse reactions disappeared, and the arrhythmia was controled. Flecainide acetate has a relatively long blood elimination half-life and a narrow safety margin. When some antiarrhythmic drugs are used in elderly patients, blood drug level monitoring is useful in preventing adverse reactions and in designing appropriate therapy.
An 82-year-old man suffered from recurrent melena due to reflux esophagitis and aspiration pneumonia, which were caused by severe gastroesophageal reflux. We constructed a gastric stoma by percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) and fixed a transgastrostomal jejunal tube (TGJ tube) in the jejunum through the stoma. Direct administration of fluid into the jejunum was followed by a significant reduction in gastro-esophageal reflux. The reflux esophagitis and aspiration pneumonia did not recur. There was no vomiting, self-extubation, or restlessness that might have been caused by dementia, and the patient was could discharged cared for at into home.
A 70-year-old man was admitted to our hospital for further evaluation of recurrent fever, which had begun in October 1994. The patient had 5 to 7 days without fever, and then 2 to 3 days of fever. He had headaches during the febrile periods. On admission, he had abnormal pyramidal, extrapyramidal, and celebellar signs, and nuchal rigidity during the febrile period. However, these neurological abnormalities were completely absent during the afebrile period. Examination of cerebrospinal fluid revealed pleocytosis of mononuclear cells. During the febrile period, pleocytosis was associated with high levels of IgG, IL-6, TNF-α, and PGE2 in the cerbrospinal fluid. Administration of indomethacin prevented the fever, which suggests that abnormal production of cytokines in the cerebrospinal fluid contributes to fever in Mollaret meningitis.
Patient 1; A 78-year-old woman was admitted to our hospital because of general malaise. Her peripheral blood count showed bicytopenia of 900/μl with 2% blasts, 7.0g/dl hemoglobin, and 199, 000/μl platelets. Examination of bone marrow revealed hypocellular marrow with peroxidase-negative blasts (89%). Surface marker analysis of blast cells revealed CD13 antigens. Electron-microscopically, myeloperoxidase staining was positive. The diagnosis was hypoplastic leukemia in which blasts had a feature of minimally differentiated acute myeloid leukemia (AML-MO). Patient 2; A 78-year-old man was admitted to our emergency unit because of dizziness and dyspnea on exertion. Examination of peripheral blood showed pancytopenia but no blast cells. Examination of bone marrow showed a markedly hypocellular marrow with 38% blast cells. These blast cells were negative for myeloperoxidase and they had CD13 antigen on their surfaces. The diagnosis was minimally differentiated hypoplastic leukemia. At the time of this writing these two patients had been receiving only red cell transfusions for about six months, and the disease had not progressed.