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Infections are leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the advanced aged. Various factors including immunosenescens, comorbid chronic diseases, and alterations in normal physiological organ functions may modify the frequency and severity of infections in elderly patients. Normal body reactions to ensuing infection, such as increased body temperature, may be blunted in those patients causing difficulties in differential diagnosis between infection and other diseases. In severe infections the respiratory and urinary tracts are the most frequently involved systems which may be accompanied by severe sepsis. Bacteremia and sepsis are also associated with indwelling vascular catheters in the elderly who are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Older patients are more vulnerable to the Clostridioides difficile infection, as well. Although the general management of infections in severely ill elderly patients is not different than in younger patients, meticulous care in fluid management and careful individualized optimization in antibiotic therapy, along with the other principals of antimicrobial stewardship are warranted in order to prevent increased mortality caused by infection. Organized team management when treating critically ill elderly patients in the ICU is essential and will reduce the morbidity and mortality due to infection in such patients.
Keywords: antimicrobial stewardship; elderly; immunosenescence; infection; severely ill.
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