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, 79 (35), 1008-10

[Gastroenterological Problems in the Elderly]

[Article in French]
  • PMID: 2120763

[Gastroenterological Problems in the Elderly]

[Article in French]
J J Gonvers. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax.


An increasing number of elderly patients presenting with gastroenterological problems is seen in hospital and private practice. It is therefore very important to be able to recognize the different clinical aspects of these diseases in this category of patients. Esophageal reflux and problems of motility can give rise to vague, atypical symptomatology, which does not orient the clinician to the esophagus. Unrecognized gastric ulcer is frequently complicated by hemorrhage or perforation leading to high mortality rates. Mesenteric infarction, even when diagnosed early still remains a serious complication. The prognosis of ischaemic colitis is more favorable than that of mesenteric infarction, thanks to the existence of a collateral circulation. Its evolution to gangrene is rare. 30% of patients 60-years or older suffer from diverticular disease which can remain asymptomatic or progress to diverticulitis, hemorrhage or fistulization. The prevalence of constipation, often aggravated by sedentary life style or drugs, increases in patients over 65 years. Fecal impaction is often unrecognized due to the poor specificity of its symptoms.

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