Clinical features of spinal infection in individuals older than eighty years
Japan has one of the most rapidly increasing numbers of elderly individuals; therefore, future trends in spinal infections in the elderly in other countries may be predicted by studying such characteristics in Japan. The purposes of this study were to identify whether the incidence of spinal infection in individuals more than 80 years old is increasing and to define its clinical characteristics.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 98 patients treated in our hospital for spinal infection between 1999 and 2008. Patients were divided into two groups: those admitted to our hospital during the initial five year period, and those admitted during the latter five year period. We evaluated changes in the percentage of individuals over the age of 80 years. To define the clinical characteristics of spinal infection, patients were also divided into another set of two groups: those over 80 years and those around the age of 80 years.
The percentage of patients over 80 years with spinal infection was significantly increasing. There was no significant difference in the gender distribution, prevalence of immunocompromised hosts, common involved levels, or mortality rate between the two age groups. The pathogenic organism was isolated in 78.6%, and of these, the rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or epidermidis was 2.46 times higher in the elderly group than in the younger group.
The number of patients over 80 years with spinal infection is expected to rapidly increase in aging societies. This advanced age group is more susceptible to infection with drug-resistant organisms, which makes infection management more difficult.
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