Assessment and management update: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

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Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, slowly degenerating, viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. Originally discovered in 1920, the disease takes the lives of primarily older adults ages 50 to 75 at the rate of approximately one per million each year, worldwide. During the past 5 years, there have been many advances in the assessment and knowledge of this dreadful disease. In 19% a new variant of CJD (nvCJD) emerged. This phenotype, theoretically transmitted by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow disease in British cattle, has increased public attention toward the disease. By understanding what has been researched and discovered about CJD, nursing care may be provided to patients more sensitively and efficiently. This article explores the pathophysiology and pathology of CJD. The physical assessment findings and tests used to diagnose the disease are reviewed and evaluated. Finally, nursing care of CJD patients is presented. The article concludes with a synthesis of what is known and unknown about CJD and the implications for future nursing research and practice.


Copyright 1999 Slack Publishing

Publication Title

Journal of Gerontological Nursing

Published Citation

Wallace, M. (1999). Assessment and management update: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Journal of Gerontological Nursing. 25(10), 17-24.

Peer Reviewed