Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2021 May;39(2):379-394. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2021.01.004. Epub 2021 Mar 23.
Infections in elderly patients can prove diagnostically challenging. Age-related factors affecting the immune system in older individuals contribute to nonspecific presentations. Other age-related factors and chronic conditions have symptoms that may or may not point to an infectious diagnosis. Delay in administration of antimicrobials can lead to poor outcomes; however, unnecessary administration of antimicrobials can lead to increased morbidity and contribute to the emergence of multidrug-resistant organisms. Careful clinical assessment and consideration of patient history and risk factors is crucial. When necessary, antimicrobials should be chosen that are appropriate for the diagnosis and deescalated as soon as possible.