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Il Giornale di Chirurgia

Surgery for colorectal cancer in elderly patients: is there such a thing as being too old?

Original Article, 355 - 362
doi: 10.11138/gchir/2018.39.6.355
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Abstract
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Introduction. The overall increase in life expectancy causes a rapid increase in number of elderly patients needing colorectal surgery. It remains unclear if there is a significant risk factor in patients over 80 years of age for postoperative morbidity and mortality. For this reason we investigated the perioperative, outcome and long-term survival after surgery for colorectal cancer in our hospital.
Materials and methods. We retrospectively analysed a database containing information about patients who underwent surgery for colorectal cancer from January 2010 to December 2015 at the St. Bernhard Hospital in Kamp-Lintfort, Germany. The last follow-up date was 31th of December 2017.
Results. A total of 232 patients were enrolled and analysed in this study. All patients were separated in tow groups depending in age. The first group was ≥80 years old (n=49). The second group was <80 years old (n=183). High ASA-Scores (≥3) were detectable more often in elderly patients (p<0,05). Elderly and young patients had a similar risk for postoperative anastomosic leakages (p=0,047). Likewise there were no significant differences regarding the Dindo-Clavien-Classification (p=0,13). The mortality within the first 30 days after surgery was significant elevated for elderly patients compared to younger patients (p=0,04). Also the overall 1-year survival was 90% for the younger and 73,5% for the older study group (p<0,05)
Conclusion. Both the short-term outcome and long-term survival rate after colorectal surgery for cancer are worse for patients older than 80 years of age. After interpretation of all data it remains unclear if the age itself is still the biggest risk factor. When old patients have a good ASA-Score and no severe comorbidities, colorectal surgery remains safe even for patients older than 80 years.

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