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עמוד בית
Sat, 02.03.24

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May 2003
B. Habot and S. Tsin

Since the early 1980s demographic changes compelled Israel’s health system to dedicate efforts to establish modern geriatric services. This task was performed with the help of governmental and non-governmental institutions and was coordinated by the Division of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care Diseases of the Ministry of Health. Today, 20 years later, as a result of those efforts, geriatrics and geriatric services in Israel are thriving. Qualified staff, including physicians who specialized in geriatrics, are working to maintain a high quality of care in various geriatric settings. However, more resources should be allocated for research in order to maintain and to continue to develop geriatric medicine in Israel.

A. Leibovitz, G. Plotnikov, B. Habot, M. Rosenberg, A. Wolf, R. Nagler, E. Graf and R. Segal

Objective: To reexamine the impact of prolonged nasogastric tube feeding on the oral microbiota and to explore the salivary flow and composition in elderly patients in long-term care.

Methods: We compared a group of elderly patients fed by nasogastric tube with a control group of elderly patients in long-term care who are fed orally. Bacteriologic studies were performed by culturing samples from the oropharynx. Saliva studies included quantitative and biochemical analysis of basal and stimulated salivary flow.

Results: Bacteriologic studies performed in 90 patients revealed a significantly higher prevalence of gram-negative bacteria in nasogastric tube-fed patients (73% vs. 13%, P < 0.001). It is emphasized that Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae were commonly and exclusively isolated from the oral flora of the nasogastric tube-fed patients (P < 0.001, P < 0.05). In the saliva studies performed on 23 nasogastric tube-fed and 21 control patients, basal and stimulated salivary flow was not significantly different in the two groups, however the ratio of stimulated to basal flow was reduced in the nasogastric tube-fed group (P < 0.05). Significant differences were also found in the concentrations of sodium, amylase, phosphor and magnesium. Noteworthy was the concentration of uric acid, the main non-enzymatic antioxidant of saliva, which was significantly lower in nasogastric-tube fed patients (P < 0.002).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that prolonged nasogastric tube feeding is associated with pathologic colonization of the oropharynx and with alterations in the saliva that are related to the risk of aspiration pneumonia. Further research is called for, as well as a thorough revision of the existing oral cleansing procedures in these patients.

A. Leibovitz, O. Blumenfeld, R. Segal, E. Lubart, Y. Baumoehl and B. Habot

Background: While age at death is on the rise, the number of postmortem examinations is declining and is disproportionately low among the elderly population. Research on the subject of gender-associated pathology in the elderly is also scarce.

Objective: To seek eventual gender-related differences in autopsies of elderly patients.

Methods: We analyzed the data extracted from a published report on 93 PMEs[1] performed at a geriatric hospital during the past 20 years.

Results: Ninety-three autopsies, representing 1.2% of the 8,101 deaths during these 20 years, were performed. Forty-five of the deceased were women and 48 were men. The incidence of pulmonary embolism was significantly higher in women (28%) than in men (10%) (P< 0.02). There was no significant difference in the gender distribution of the other diagnoses.

Conclusion: Gender distribution of PME-based causes of death in elderly patients revealed a significant rate of pulmonary embolism in women. A thorough search of the medical literature revealed two previous studies with similar findings. Further research will determine whether pulmonary embolism is more frequent or whether it has a worse prognosis in frail elderly women.

[1] PME = postmortem examination

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