Surgical operations in elderly patients
AbstractBackground: Operations on patients over 65years of age are increasing steadily in number and complexity because of increase in number persons living up to 65years and above.
Objective: Frequently, elderly patients are encountered in hospitals with different diseases that can only be treated by either minor or major surgical operations. Yet, there is scarcity of documented studies about surgical operations on the elderly in this country. This formed the stimulus for this study.
Method: This is a retrospective study. Data concerning 119 patients aged over 65years, operated upon from 1993-2009, at Trans Ekulu Hospital Enugu, South-East Nigeria, were analyzed. These clinical data were collected from the theatre register and patients’ case notes. The surgical operations were undertaken by a consultant surgeon, while the two gynaecological cases were done by a consultant gynaecologist.
Results: Out of these 119 elderly patients aged 65-94years operated upon, 82 were males and 37 were females. Sixty-six were major and 53 minor procedures. Hypertension was the most common co-morbid condition. There were 12 deaths recorded in the major category, and none in the minor operations. Haemorrhage, infection and cancer were responsible for the deaths.
Conclusion: Most of the patients who underwent these surgical operations derived benefits both for improved quality of life and increased life expectancy. The elderly tolerate surgical procedures well, provided the risk factors are well controlled.