Service de réanimation médicale, hôpital d’instruction des armées, Dakar, Sénégal
To determine the frequency of admission and its reasons, severity and outcome among elderly patients in our intensive care unit (ICU) and compare them with those for younger subjects.
Methodology: Retrospective study covering a 5-year period (January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2009) in the ICU of the principal hospital in Dakar. We included as elderly patients all those aged at least 65 years and compared them with the young patients, that is, those younger than 65 years.
Results: During the study period, 2196 patients were admitted to the ICU, 374 of them elderly. The ratio of men to women was 1.43. The mean age among the elderly was 74.4±6.5 years, and their mean duration of ICU stay was 5.6±4.67 days. Nearly 80% had a serious medical history or preexisting condition, most often, myocardial infarction, stroke, or lung disease. The older patients were more seriously ill than the younger ones (p<0.01), but their care was less complex. Mortality was higher among the older, compared with the younger, subjects (42.80%
vs. 28.4%). The only mortality-related factor that appeared to vary with age was cardiogenic pulmonary edema.
Conclusion: The management of elderly subjects remains a problem in intensive care. High mortality is generally not directly related to their age but rather to their overall condition.