East and Central African Journal of Surgery

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Pattern of major surgery among the elderly and aged patients seen in Kampala, Uganda

J Njoroge, I Kakande, S Kagpva


A cross sectional descriptive prospective study was conducted at three of  Kampala's tnain hospitals with the aim of determining the pattern of major surgery among the  elderly and aged patients over a six months period from 1" July to 31" December  1999. In the study, patients aged between 65 and 74 years were regarded as elderly while those aged 75 years and above were considered aged. A total of 196 patients  were included in the study. There were 152 (75.5%)males  and 46 (23.5%) females (M: F=3:1). More elderly patients than the aged were operated on. Only 25.3% of the emergencies. Operations on the  gastrointestinal tract were the commonest and   accounted for 36.9% of cases, followed by surgery of the genitourinary (30.8%) and cardiovascular (13.1%) systems. In 63% of cases, the operations were palliative. Wound sepsis was the commonest postoperative complication and accounted for  17.8% of all complications. There were 19 deaths, an overall mortality rate of 9.6%. Thirteen (68.4%) of all deaths occurred after operations on the gastrointestinal tract. The mean hospital stay was 11.6 days for both the elderly and aged. Both the short and long term outcome of both emergency and elective operations were good. The study confirmed that age should not be a contraindication to surgery.

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