The impact of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) on older patients is likely underestimated by current statistics, according to a study published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PloS One.
“It is important that variations in LRTI and CAP incidence in older individuals by age, region and IMD are taken into account in future health planning in the U.K.,” the authors concluded. “Routine data such as these are used in many countries to assess disease burden. Given our findings, our methodology is likely to be highly relevant to other countries with aging populations, so that they can obtain more accurate incidence estimates of these important infections.”
For the study, researchers reviewed data on 1,534,443 general practice older adult patients. They observed that rates of the two infections increased over the course of their study from April 1997 to March 2011, largely due to the aging population.
Unlike most other studies on respiratory infection incidence, the team linked up general practice and hospital data to distinguish cases of CAP from hospital-acquired pneumonia, and stratified those aged over 65 years, a standardized grouping which the authors said is increasingly irrelevant.
Patients aged 85 to 89 years had a rate of LRTI double that of those aged 65 to 69 years; the older patients also experienced seven times the number of episodes of CAP, according to the study.