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ANZ J Surg. 2003 Sep;73(9):749-54.

Cardiac surgery in Australian octogenarians: 1996-2001.

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  • 1Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.



The number of octogenarians receiving cardiac surgery is increasing. Concerns regarding the outcomes and significant expense required to provide this service have not been addressed because no prospective medium term outcomes of Australian octogenarians have been published.


Prospective analysis was undertaken of octogenarians having cardiac surgery from 1996 to 2001 in three hospitals of moderate case volume (400 patients per year) by: in-hospital audit and data acquisition, 1-year direct patient follow up in rooms, and a final follow up in late 2001 directly with the patient either in rooms or via telephone questionnaire.


Sixty-four patients had cardiac surgery. All patients were severely disabled by symptoms (CCVS: III-IV, NYHA: III-IV) preoperatively, 14% were advised not to proceed with a surgical option but did so. Total operative in-hospital mortality was 6.3% (elective: 0%, urgent: 10.5%, P = 0.05), major complications were few 10.9% (seven patients; stroke: 1.6%, deep sternal infection: 1.6%, myocardial infarction: 1.6%, reoperation: 4.8%). At 1 year, despite 95% being free of significant cardiovascular symptoms (CCVS/NYHA: I-II), nearly one in five (19%) would not have proceeded with the surgery. However, at the final follow up (mean time: 2.8 years), freedom from cardiovascular symptoms remained high (95%), 94% remained independent and their quality of life was significantly better than before surgery. Although 59% suffered worsening of additional medical conditions, these conditions had a minor impact on their quality of life. Ninety-eight per cent would recommend cardiac surgery. Actuarial survival for all patients and for hospital survivors at 4 years was 67.9 +/- 4.1% and 74.2 +/- 4%, respectively.


Medium-term follow up of Australian octogenarians who were offered cardiac surgery revealed that 94% remain independent and with an excellent quality of life. Age alone must not be a barrier to access to cardiac surgery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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