Objective: The purpose of this study is to identify the cause of death in elderly patients stratified by age in a general hospital during 15 years.
Methods: The authors retrospectively analyzed the cause of death in a cohort of deceased patients aged 65 years and over, who were divided into three groups as young-old (65-74 yrs, n=1050), old-old (75-84 yrs, n=944), and oldest-old (≥85 yrs, n=344), and who were admitted to a general hospital in Beijing from May 1996 till May 2011.
Results: There are totally 2338 patients (1409 male, 929 female) aged 65 years and older admitted to and eventually died in our hospital in this period. The 5 major cause of death by the order were neoplasm (777, 33.2%), circulatory (648, 27.7%), respiratory (541, 23.1%), digestive (163, 7.0%) diseases and injuries (70, 3.0%). However, in the oldest old group, they were respiratory (126, 36.6%), circulatory (95, 27.6%), neoplasm (61, 17.7%), digestive (28, 8.1%) diseases and injuries (26, 7.6%). The proportion of patients died by neoplasm is significantly lower, while that of respiratory system diseases and injuries significantly higher in the older groups than in the younger groups (P<0.01). The proportion of patients died by neoplasm is negatively correlated with age (r=-0.938, P=0.000), while that by respiratory diseases was positively correlated with age (r=0.785, P=0.000).
Conclusion: More attention should be paid to the prevention and management of neoplasm for younger group, while of respiratory system diseases for older group of elderly to fulfill their longevity.
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