Anaemia in elderly patients at Kenyatta National Hospital
The main objective of this work was to study anaemia in elderly patients and hence contribute some baseline data for future possible work in this area. This prospective study covered 63 elderly patients of all types of anaemia diagnosed at Kenyatta National Hospital between September 1987 and January 1988. Those cases admitted to this hospital were further fully investigated and treated if they did not die immediately. Then several clinicopa- thological variables and biodata were analysed in all the cases. Anaemia was found to occur in about 11% of elderly patients admitted and reviewed. The single most common cause was iron deficiency, (34.9%) while the majority of patients had anaemia which was multifactorial in origin, with hookworm, systemic disease and diet playing contributory roles. Gastrointestinal diseases played an important role while other systemic illnesses were not prominent. Effective management is beset with problems of diagnosis, availability of blood and often drugs. This study shows that anaemia is common in elderly patients admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital and contributes significantly to their morbidity. There is an urgent need to do further work into the contributions of different factors such as hookworm and diet to anaemia in geriatric patients, if ideal management specifically directed towards this age group is to be achieved.
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