Difficulties in Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma in the Elderly

Takashi Ohrui, Mutsuo Yamaya, Masaru Yanai, Hidetada Sasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cause of the high asthma mortality in the elderly is not exactly known. We measured intrabronchial pressures in elderly asthma patients who had long-standing asthma and compared them with those in newly-diagnosed asthma and young healthy volunteers. In elderly asthmatics, at baseline conditions, both central and peripheral airway resistances were significantly higher compared with those in the other groups, which may partly explain the high asthma mortality in the elderly. We report a case of severe acute asthma associated with disturbed consciousness, in which asthma-induced cerebral swelling was considered to be accompanied by neuronal damage, after examination of cerebrospinal fluid. Inhaled steroid is essential for the treatment of moderate to severe asthma. However, approximately 40% of the elderly patients in this category did not use inhaled steroid. Physicians should strongly recommend the use of inhaled steroid to prevent asthma death in elderly asthma patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-746
Number of pages4
JournalJapanese Journal of Geriatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Asthma mortality
  • Inhaled steroids
  • Intrabronchial pressures
  • Near-fatal asthma
  • Persistent Airway inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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