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What's new in geriatrics
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What's new in geriatrics
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 11, 2017.

The following represent additions to UpToDate from the past six months that were considered by the editors and authors to be of particular interest. The most recent What's New entries are at the top of each subsection.

GENERAL GERIATRICS

Goal blood pressure in older adults (May 2017)

Goal blood pressure in older hypertensive adults is controversial. A meta-analysis of over 10,000 hypertensive adults 65 years or older combined results from the older subgroup in the SPRINT trial with three other large randomized trials evaluating goal blood pressure [1]. At three-year follow-up, compared with less intensive therapy, more intensive blood pressure lowering reduced the rates of major adverse cardiovascular events, cardiovascular mortality, and heart failure. In general, UpToDate recommends a systolic blood pressure goal of 125 to 135 mmHg if standard manual blood pressure measurements are used or 120 to 125 mmHg if unattended automated oscillometric measurements are used. If attaining goal blood pressure proves difficult or burdensome for the patient, the systolic blood pressure that is reached with two or three antihypertensive agents (even if above target) may be a reasonable interim goal. (See "Treatment of hypertension in the elderly patient, particularly isolated systolic hypertension", section on 'Goal blood pressure'.)

Interval to colonoscopy following a positive fecal immunochemical test (May 2017)

How soon follow-up colonoscopy should be done to evaluate a positive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is uncertain. In a retrospective cohort study of over 70,000 patients aged 50 to 70 years who had a positive FIT, rates of detection of any colorectal cancer (CRC) or advanced-stage CRC increased with increased time intervals between positive FIT and colonoscopy [2]. Based on these findings, we encourage follow-up colonoscopy as soon as possible (and definitely within a few months) for patients who have a positive FIT. (See "Screening for colorectal cancer: Strategies in patients at average risk", section on 'A suggested approach'.)

GERIATRIC CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINE

Embolic protection devices during transcatheter aortic valve implantation (April 2017)

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has an evolving role as an alternative to surgical aortic valve replacement in treating patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis. However, TAVI is associated with an increased risk of stroke and risk of subclinical ischemic brain lesions on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Embolic protection devices (EPDs) have been studied as potential means of reducing this risk of stroke. A meta-analysis included 16 studies involving 1170 patients who underwent TAVI, the majority treated with EPD [3]. Analyses comparing EPD versus no EPD strategies could not confirm or exclude differences in clinically evident stroke or mortality at 30 days. While there was no significant difference in numbers of new lesions, use of EPD was associated with a significantly smaller total volume of ischemic lesions. Further study is needed to determine whether EPDs can improve clinical outcomes. (See "Transcatheter aortic valve implantation: Complications", section on 'Stroke and subclinical brain injury'.)

GERIATRIC ENDOCRINOLOGY AND DIABETES

Testosterone therapy in older men with low testosterone (April 2017)

The role of testosterone replacement to treat the decline in serum testosterone concentration that occurs in aging men (in the absence of identifiable pituitary or hypothalamic disease) was addressed in the multicenter Testosterone Trials (TTrials), an integrated set of seven trials in nearly 800 men over age 65 years with low testosterone and sexual dysfunction, physical dysfunction, and reduced vitality, who were randomly assigned to testosterone gel or placebo for 12 months. Initial results suggested that testosterone had a beneficial effect on sexual function, depressive symptoms, and mood, and possibly physical function (walking distance), but not on vitality [4,5] Results from recently published individual trials showed the following:

There was no effect of testosterone replacement on cognitive function in men with age-associated memory impairment [6].

There was a beneficial effect on anemia [7] and bone density [8].

Testosterone increased coronary artery noncalcified plaque volume as measured by coronary computed tomographic angiography [9].

While the small size and short duration of the subtrials are important limitations, the coronary artery plaque trial raises important concerns about the safety of testosterone therapy in older men. (See "Overview of testosterone deficiency in older men".)

Treatment with levothyroxine provides no symptomatic benefit in older adults with subclinical hypothyroidism (April 2017)

Subclinical hypothyroidism is defined biochemically as an elevated serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and a normal serum-free thyroxine (T4) level. Some patients with subclinical hypothyroidism may have vague, nonspecific symptoms. Although virtually all experts recommend treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism when serum TSH concentrations are ≥10 mU/L, treatment of patients with TSH values between the upper reference limit and 9.9 mU/L remains controversial, particularly in older patients who are more likely to have complications from unintended overtreatment. In a randomized trial evaluating the effect of levothyroxine versus placebo on quality of life measures in over 700 older patients (mean age 74.4 years) with mean TSH 6.4 mU/L, there was no difference in hypothyroid symptoms or tiredness scores after one year [10]. We do not routinely treat older patients with TSH between the upper reference limit and 9.9 mU/L (algorithm 1). (See "Subclinical hypothyroidism in nonpregnant adults", section on 'Hypothyroid signs and symptoms'.)

GERIATRIC GASTROENTEROLOGY

PPI use and mortality (July 2017)

It is unclear if proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use is associated with an increase in risk of death. In an observational cohort study, the incident death rate among 275,977 new PPI users was higher than among 73,335 new histamine-2 receptor antagonist (H2RA) users over a median follow-up of 5.7 years (4.5 versus 3.3 per 100 person-years) [11]. After adjusting for potential confounders, PPI use was associated with increased all-cause mortality compared with H2RA use (HR 1.25); the risk of death increased with the duration of PPI use. Limitations of the study include its generalizability as the study cohort primarily consisted of older white males and lack of data on the cause of mortality. The underlying basis for this apparent increased risk of death with PPI use is not known, and further studies are needed to evaluate whether the association is due to unmeasured confounding. However, we continue to recommend that PPIs be prescribed at the lowest dose for the shortest duration appropriate for the condition being treated. (See "Overview and comparison of the proton pump inhibitors for the treatment of acid-related disorders", section on 'Mortality'.)

GERIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES

2017-2018 influenza immunization recommendations for the United States (September 2017)

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have released recommendations for influenza immunization for the 2017-2018 season in the United States [12,13]. Routine influenza immunization with a licensed, age-appropriate vaccine (table 1) is recommended for all persons ≥6 months of age. Live attenuated influenza vaccine is not recommended for the 2017-2018 season. Pregnant women and persons with egg allergy of any severity can receive any licensed, age-appropriate inactivated influenza vaccine with standard immunization precautions. Although neither the ACIP nor the AAP provide a preference for a particular formulation, we favor a quadrivalent vaccine when available for adults <65 years and we recommend the high-dose vaccine for those ≥65 years. (See "Seasonal influenza in children: Prevention with vaccines", section on 'Types of vaccine' and "Seasonal influenza vaccination in adults", section on 'Choice of vaccine formulation' and "Influenza and pregnancy", section on 'Vaccination' and "Influenza vaccination in individuals with egg allergy", section on 'Safety of vaccines in patients with egg allergy'.)

Recombinant hemagglutinin influenza vaccine in older adults (June 2017)

Recombinant hemagglutinin influenza vaccines (Flublok and Flublok Quadrivalent) are produced using recombinant DNA technology and a baculovirus expression system rather than the traditional egg-based methods. In a randomized trial that included adults ≥50 years of age, Flublok Quadrivalent was more effective than the quadrivalent standard-dose inactivated vaccine for preventing influenza [14]. Flublok Quadrivalent has not been compared directly with the high-dose inactivated vaccine, which has been found to be more effective than the standard dose inactivated vaccine in older adults (including a mortality benefit). Flublok Quadrivalent is a reasonable alternative to the high-dose vaccine for older adults. (See "Seasonal influenza vaccination in adults", section on 'Recombinant hemagglutinin vaccine'.)

Treatment of nonpurulent cellulitis (June 2017)

Empiric antibiotic therapy for nonpurulent cellulitis (ie, with no purulent drainage and no associated abscess) should be active against beta-hemolytic streptococci and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) but not necessarily methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). This approach is supported by a randomized trial of nearly 500 patients with nonpurulent cellulitis, in which cephalexin plus placebo (active against beta-hemolytic streptococci and MSSA) and cephalexin plus trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX, which adds activity against MRSA) resulted in statistically similar clinical cure rates (69 versus 76 percent) [15]. Although there was a trend toward higher cure rates with the addition of TMP-SMX, the results were likely skewed by a relatively large number of patients who did not complete the full course of therapy. (See "Cellulitis and skin abscess in adults: Treatment", section on 'Cellulitis'.)

GERIATRIC NEUROLOGY

Dementia risk factors and prevention (September 2017)

Two major reports released by a Lancet Commission in the United Kingdom and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the United States review the literature on risk factors for dementia and the impact of risk factor modification on dementia incidence [16,17]. The Lancet Commission estimates that approximately one-third of dementia cases are attributable to a combination of nine potentially modifiable risk factors: low educational attainment, midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, hearing loss, late-life depression, diabetes, physical inactivity, smoking, and social isolation [16]. While the overall evidence is generally of low quality and does not support any single intervention, there is optimism that intensive risk factor modification, especially during midlife, has the potential to delay or prevent dementia. (See "Risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia" and "Prevention of dementia".)

Posttraumatic stress disorder after stroke (April 2017)

Recognition that experiencing a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has emerged gradually over the past two decades. In a recent review of the literature, epidemiologic studies suggest that up to one in four cases of stroke or TIA may be associated with significant PTSD symptoms [18]. (See "Posttraumatic stress disorder in adults: Epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis", section on 'Stroke'.)

GERIATRIC UROLOGY AND UROGYNECOLOGY

Electroacupuncture for stress urinary incontinence in women (August 2017)

Treatment options for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women include lifestyle modifications, bladder training, medications, devices, and surgery. The use of electroacupuncture for SUI has been reported in a multicenter randomized trial in China [19]. Compared with sham treatments, electroacupuncture reduced the volume of urine leaked and number of leakage episodes. Availability of this therapy may limit this option. Additionally, confirmation of these results in other trial settings is needed before its general use can be widely recommended.[19]"Treatment of urinary incontinence in women".)

OTHER GERIATRICS

Comprehensive geriatric assessment before elective vascular surgery (June 2017)

Older adults undergoing vascular surgery have a high incidence of medical co-morbidities that increase the risk for perioperative morbidity and mortality. In a trial that compared comprehensive geriatric versus standard preoperative assessment in patients at least 65 years old undergoing major elective vascular surgical procedures, comprehensive geriatric assessment reduced postoperative complications and length of stay, with a trend toward fewer discharges to a higher level of dependency [20]. This trial underscores the need to accurately assess medical risk prior to undertaking elective vascular surgery in older adults. (See "Overview of lower extremity peripheral artery disease", section on 'Revascularization'.)

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REFERENCES

  1. Bavishi C, Bangalore S, Messerli FH. Outcomes of Intensive Blood Pressure Lowering in Older Hypertensive Patients. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017; 69:486.
  2. Corley DA, Jensen CD, Quinn VP, et al. Association Between Time to Colonoscopy After a Positive Fecal Test Result and Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Cancer Stage at Diagnosis. JAMA 2017; 317:1631.
  3. Bagur R, Solo K, Alghofaili S, et al. Cerebral Embolic Protection Devices During Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Stroke 2017; 48:1306.
  4. Snyder PJ, Bhasin S, Cunningham GR, et al. Effects of Testosterone Treatment in Older Men. N Engl J Med 2016; 374:611.
  5. Cunningham GR, Stephens-Shields AJ, Rosen RC, et al. Testosterone Treatment and Sexual Function in Older Men With Low Testosterone Levels. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2016; 101:3096.
  6. Resnick SM, Matsumoto AM, Stephens-Shields AJ, et al. Testosterone Treatment and Cognitive Function in Older Men With Low Testosterone and Age-Associated Memory Impairment. JAMA 2017; 317:717.
  7. Roy CN, Snyder PJ, Stephens-Shields AJ, et al. Association of Testosterone Levels With Anemia in Older Men: A Controlled Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med 2017; 177:480.
  8. Snyder PJ, Kopperdahl DL, Stephens-Shields AJ, et al. Effect of Testosterone Treatment on Volumetric Bone Density and Strength in Older Men With Low Testosterone: A Controlled Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med 2017; 177:471.
  9. Budoff MJ, Ellenberg SS, Lewis CE, et al. Testosterone Treatment and Coronary Artery Plaque Volume in Older Men With Low Testosterone. JAMA 2017; 317:708.
  10. Stott DJ, Rodondi N, Kearney PM, et al. Thyroid Hormone Therapy for Older Adults with Subclinical Hypothyroidism. N Engl J Med 2017.
  11. Xie Y, Bowe B, Li T, et al. Risk of death among users of Proton Pump Inhibitors: a longitudinal observational cohort study of United States veterans. BMJ Open 2017; 7:e015735.
  12. Grohskopf LA, Sokolow LZ, Broder KR, et al. Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices - United States, 2017-18 Influenza Season. MMWR Recomm Rep 2017; 66:1.
  13. COMMITTEE ON INFECTIOUS DISEASES. Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2017 - 2018. Pediatrics 2017; 140.
  14. Dunkle LM, Izikson R, Patriarca P, et al. Efficacy of Recombinant Influenza Vaccine in Adults 50 Years of Age or Older. N Engl J Med 2017; 376:2427.
  15. Moran GJ, Krishnadasan A, Mower WR, et al. Effect of Cephalexin Plus Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole vs Cephalexin Alone on Clinical Cure of Uncomplicated Cellulitis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 2017; 317:2088.
  16. Livingston G, Sommerlad A, Orgeta V, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. Lancet 2017.
  17. Kane RL, Bulter M, Fink HA, et al. Interventions to prevent age-related cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and clinical Alzheimer's-type dementia: Comparative effectiveness review No. 188. AHQR Pub. No. 17-EHC008-EF, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD 2017.
  18. Garton AL, Sisti JA, Gupta VP, et al. Poststroke post-traumatic stress disorder: A review. Stroke 2017; 48:507.
  19. Liu Z, Liu Y, Xu H, et al. Effect of Electroacupuncture on Urinary Leakage Among Women With Stress Urinary Incontinence: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 2017; 317:2493.
  20. Partridge JS, Harari D, Martin FC, et al. Randomized clinical trial of comprehensive geriatric assessment and optimization in vascular surgery. Br J Surg 2017; 104:679.
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