, Volume 29, Issue 12, pp 2112-2115
Date: 17 Jul 2003

Optimizing outcomes for older patients treated in the intensive care unit

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Geriatric intensive care is already a very important aspect of our world's healthcare concerns, and it is growing exponentially. In this issue of Intensive Care Medicine, we are fortunate to learn from Somme et al. [1] about the outcomes of older patients (considered by most authors to include those 70–75 years and older) from a well-established critical care program in Paris, France. In this editorial, I will summarize what we have learned about the outcomes of older patients who receive intensive care and consider emerging frontiers both in the intensive care unit (ICU) and during recovery that are of particular importance to successful care of older ICU patients.

A few facts will help frame this subject: (1) 60% of all ICU days are incurred by patients over 65 years of age [2]; (2) the per capita number of days per year spent in the ICU is sevenfold higher above age 75 years compared to those less than 65 years [2]; and (3) the incidence of acute respiratory failure treated with mech

Grant Support: Dr. Ely is a recipient of the AFAR Pharmacology in Aging Grant and the Paul Beeson Faculty Scholar Award from the Alliance for Aging Research. He is a recipient of a K23 from the National Institute of Health (#AG01023–01A1) and is the Associate Director of Research for the VA Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research and Education Clinical Center (GRECC). No other financial support was provided to conduct this investigation.