If you are considering surgery, information regarding the
risks involved is important for you to be able to make the
right decision. Elderly people in particular need to know
what risks they
face going into an elective surgical procedure, because they
are at a much greater risk of accidental death.
A recent study in Effective Clinical Practice assessed
the death rates for 14 types (six cardiovascular, eight cancer-related)
of elective, high-risk surgeries in 1.2 million patients 65
and older. Deaths were also examined related to the age of
the patient and the procedure performed.
In older patients, the risk of operative death was “frequently”
higher than 10%, which is much higher than typically reported
in trial studies. Risk of death substantially increased with
age in most cases; operative death for patients 80 years or
older was more than double that of patients ages 65 to 69.
Also, mortality differed significantly between procedures:
heart valve replacement and partial lung or esophagus removal
(because of cancer) were the most dangerous procedures (over
15% operative mortality rate in patients older than 80).
Age is probably the most important predictor of operative
mortality. Think twice before going under the knife if you
are past middle age, even if it initially appears to be your
only option. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about preventing
senior health problems, or visit http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/senior.html.
Finlayson EVA, Birkmeyer JD. Operative mortality with elective
surgery in older adults. Effective Clinical Practice,
July/August 2001:4(4), pp. 172-177.