By Amanda Dolan for Uterus1
For older adults, abdominal surgeries may be more dangerous than previously reported. A new study performed by the University of Washington School of Medicine came to a conclusion that those 65 or older may want to consider before opt for even common procedures.
Starting in 1987 and ending in 2004, about 101,318 adults aged 65 or older participated in this study held by all non-military hospitals in Washington state. The goal of the study was to better understand "the population-level risk of adverse outcomes among older adults undergoing common abdominal surgical procedures." These procedures included cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder), colectomy (colon surgery), and hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). The main focus of the study was to judge the morbidity and mortality of patients 90-days after their procedure.
Overall, within 90-days there was a 17.3 percent risk of complications. Of all those studied, about 5.4 percent died. And, as one would expect, the older you are--the riskier the surgery becomes. For example, about 14% of those aged 65-69 had complications within the 90-day span while more than 22% of people 85+ had complications. And, while only about 2.5% of 65-69 year olds died from complications related to the surgery, about 16.7% of those 90 years old and older passed away.
What do the results of this study mean for patients and the medical community? Firstly, the results reinforce the importance of conversations between older patients and their family members. The higher complications imply that many older adults should seriously consider whether or not to undergo the surgery if it is an nonelective procedure. And, in addition, provide more reason to seriously consider having an elective abdominal surgery. For medical professionals, this study should be considered when recommending their older patients for surgery. Most importantly, this is an indicator that, though surgical procedures continue to improve as technology and training improve, there is still a way to go as far as treating older patients. This issue of safe surgery will grow increasingly important as we approach the year 2031, when all baby boomers will be age 65 or older.
Have you or someone you know received abdominal surgery? Would you think differently about receiving a procedure now, because of this study?
Source: Archives of Surgery