The increase in the geriatric population in recent decades was not followed by a corresponding increase in attention on the part of surgeons to elderly patients until, in the '80s, many clinical studies showed that postoperative morbidity and mortality were related to the associated diseases rather than to the patients' age. To evaluate whether greater attention to the elderly is capable of increasing the number of operations that can be performed when necessary, we retrospectively surveyed the activity of a division of general surgery over two different periods of 5 years: the first one from 01/01/1985 to 31/12/1989 and the second from 01/01/1995 to 31/12/1999, when a team was specifically set up to take care of elderly patients. We registered a significant difference in the number of elderly patients operated on for tumours (134 vs. 208), an increase in colorectal neoplasms (24 vs. 70) and significant differences between radical and palliative surgery (P = 0.03). The extension of radical interventions for cancer to the elderly resulted in a moderate increase in postoperative complications. The surgery-related mortality was around 3.5% in both periods. Thus, a team of surgeons specifically dedicated to aged patients can improve the number of surgical operations performed in these subjects when required without any rise in postoperative mortality.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2001|
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