Health News for Senior Citizens
Health News for Seniors
Millions of elderly flock to U.S. emergency rooms due to infectious diseases
Seniors more likely to visit ER due to infectious disease than heart attack, heart failure combined
Jan. 15, 2016 - Investigators estimate that during 2012, there were more than 3.1 million emergency department visits for infectious diseases among senior citizens in the U.S. and 4 percent died there are in hospital.
This accounted for 13.5% of all emergency department visits of elderly adults, which was higher than visits for heart attacks and congestive heart failure combined.
The rate of infectious disease-related emergency department visits was 7,231 per 100,000 elderly adults. The most common diagnoses were lower respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and septicemia.
Septicemia is bacteria in the blood (bacteremia) that often occurs with severe infections. Septicemia is a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly. It is also called just sepsis and occasionally referred to as blood poisoning. (More information at MedlinePlus.)
Of all infectious disease-related emergency department visits, 57.2% resulted in hospitalization.
Overall, 4.0% of patients died during their emergency department visit or hospitalization.
"With the rapid growth of the elderly population in the U.S., infectious diseases continue to be an important social problem. Our findings call for strategies to reduce infectious disease-related morbidity and healthcare utilization as a national priority for research, health policy, and community action," said Dr. Tadahiro Goto, lead author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study.