"The elderly patient bereft of house, spouse and sense of purpose is often left with little more than loneliness, memories and a spastic bowel." So says I. N. (Solly) Marks of Capetown, South Africa, in his chapter in this book that is devoted to describing gastrointestinal (GI) tract problems in the elderly. With one of nine persons (21 million) being over 65 years of age in the United States, it behooves general and thoracic surgeons to understand the physiologic peculiarities of the elderly.
The editors, from Louvain, Belgium, have achieved an admirable international balance of authors from Western Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This is in refreshing contrast to so many geographically narcissistic books edited by those of us in North America.
An opening chapter on presenting GI tract complaints in the elderly sets the tone for the rest of the volume, which deals with specific organs.