To determine the clinical usefulness of the autopsy in elderly patients, we studied a total of 231 autopsies performed during 1986 and 1995 at Jikeikai hospital. Autopsies were done after 231 of 609 deaths (38%). The autopsy rate in our hospital fell from 63% in 1986 to 17% in 1995. Most primary causes of deaths as established by clinicians before autopsy were pulmonary, neoplastic, and cardiovascular diseases. The probability of a major unexpected finding at autopsy was higher in acute pneumonia, acute myocardial infarction, and cerebrovascular disease. No primary pathological cause of death was established by pathologists at autopsy in 13 cases (The clinical diognoses in those patients were acute pneumonia in 5 patients, acute myocardial infarction in 2 patients, sepsis in 2 patients, bronchiale asthma, cerebral infarction, uremia, gastrointestinal bleeding each in 1 patient.) The mean age of these 13 patients was higher by 5 years than the age of the group as a whole. This indicate that elderly patients have many complications and that these deaths weve caused by many small changes that were not be detected at autopsy. Latent cancer was found in 23 cases (12%): thyroid and colon cancer in 6 patients each, gastric cancer in 4, prostate cancer in 3, ovarian cancer in 2, and other cancers (renal, uterine, lung, uretral, pancreatis and liver) each 1 in patient.
Outcomes of primary angioplasty in 6 elderly patients with acute myocardial infarction who were admitted to the hospital between July of 1994 and June of 1997 were reviewed retrospectively. Emergency coronary angiography was done in 7 of 16 patients (44%) who were at least 85 years old and primary angioplasty was done in 6 patients (38%). Dilatation was successful in all 6 patients. Congestive heart failure occurred in 4 patients and cardiogenic shock occurred in 1 patient, but no patient died during hospitalization. Blood transfusion and surgical resection were done in 1 patient because of a giant hematoma and pseudoaneurysm at the puncture site. Although the creatinine level increased after angioplasty in all 6 patients, dialysis therapy was not needed. All patients were alive and none had angina at follow-up (mean follow-up period=16.5 months). Primary angioplasty was successful in patients at least 85 years old; both short-term and long-term outcomes were good. Primary angioplasty should be considered to be an effective treatment for acute myocardial infarction in people 85 years old and older.
We studied 86 patients with bladder cancer who were 80 years old and over. All were studied at the time of their first presentation for treatment in our hospital. About 40% of them were somewhat limited in performing usual daily activities before the first treatment, and they could not come to the hospital by themselves. Tumors in patients were larger, of higher grade and more invasive than those in younger patients. Transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TUR-Bt) was done in 94% of patients with a superficial tumor and in 56% of those an invasive tumor. The recurrence rates after TUR-Bt for superficial tumor were 48%, 64% and 89% in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years, respectively. Recurrence rates were significantly different in younger patients. Overall cancer related survival rates were 86%, 60% and 56% in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years, respectively. The outcome were significantly worse in patients over 80 years old than in those under 79 years old. To improve the outcome of treatment for bladder cancer in patients over 80 years old, cooperation among doctors, patients and families was important.
A survey of acute myocardial infarctions (AMI) that occurred from October 1990 through September 1993 in Obihiro City, Hokkaido, was conducted. A total of 114 new cases of AMI was registered over the 3-year period. The incidence rate of AMI was 33.4 cases per 100, 000 men per year and 13.7 cases per 100, 000 women per year (total, 23.2 cases). The mean age at which AMI occurred was 11 years higher in women (71.1±9.4 years) than in men (60.0±11.8 years). In men, AMI was most common during the eighth decade of life, while in women the incidence of AMI increased after menopause. The ratio of cases of AMI to cases of stroke in the same period was 1:4.5. These results did not differ from the results of other surveys done over the same period in seven other area of Japan. To study risk factors for myocardial infarction, the data were grouped according to the results of medical examinations. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking were common among people with AMI. The incidence rate of hypercholesterolemia did not differ between those with AMI and those without, and only a relatively small number of people with AMI drank alcohol. Past reports have pointed out changes in the ‘structure’ of cardiovascular disease in Japan, which have accompanied changes in diet and lifestyle. This study has shows that aging, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and smoking are risk factors for myocardial infarction. Proper management, including early detection of these factors, will help to prevent of ischemic heart disease in Japan.
A 78-year-old woman was admitted to our hospital on September 14, 1992, because of systemic myalgia and stiffness, joint pain, and gait disturbance. She had begun to feel headache and pain in the neck and shoulder in the middle of August, 1992. The pain became systemic, and was accompanied by a low-grade fever, which was unresponsive to NSAIDs. On admission, she had no joint swelling or deformities in the extremities. Neurological examination revealed weakness in the right leg, hypoalgesia below the left C4 level, hyperreflexia in the right extremities, and right Babinski's sign. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate was very high (100mm/h). Levels of other acute phase reactants were also high. Tests for antinuclear antibody and anti-cardiolipin antibody were positive, but a test for rheumatoid factor was negative. Creatine kinase activity was within normal limits. A T1-weighted magnetic resonance image of the cervical spine at 0.5 T showed an intra-medullary low signal. A T2-weighted image showed a borderless spindle-like high signal. Four nodules enhanced by Gd-DTPA were seen at C1-C4. The age at onset, myalgia, stiffness, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate were considered to be consistent with a diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica. Glucocorticoid treatment was therefore started, and a dramatic clinical improvement was evident within a few days. The patient was discharged from hospital on November 30, 1992. To our knowledge, myelopathy complicated by polymyalgia rheumatica has never been reported previously. Recently, some patients with polymyalgia rheumatica have been reported to have anti-cardiolipin antibody in serum. In the present case, anti-cardiolipin antibody may have played a role in the formation of microemboli or in angitis of the cervical spine.
We report the case of an 84-year-old woman with spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage who presented with disturbance of consciousness and nuchal stiffness, bloody cerebrospinal fluid and severe hypoglycorrhachia. Initially, it was difficult to determine whether this was a case of spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage, purulent meningitis, or hemorrhagic encephalitis, because of the nuchal stiffness, disturbance of consciousness and severe hypoglycorrhachia. It is known that intracranial subarachnoid hemorrhage is accompanied by mild hypoglycorrhachia, but descriptions of glucose levels in cerebrospinal fluid in cases of spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage are rare. This case suggests that both spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracranial subarachnoid hemorrhage are associated with hypoglycorrhachia. Furthermore, spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage is frequently accompanied by disturbance of consciousness. Therefore, sudden back pain or lumbago might not be interpreted as indicators of spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage, because patients, particularly elderly patients, may lose consciousness. We emphasize that the possibility of spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage should be considered in patients with disturbance of consciousness or hypoglycorrhachia even if they do not complain of sudden back pain.