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Ann Thorac Surg. 1999 Apr;67(4):1104-10.

601 octogenarians undergoing cardiac surgery: outcome and comparison with younger age groups.

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Joseph B. Whitehead Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



Cardiac valve replacement and coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) are being applied with increasing frequency in patients 80 years of age and older.


Six hundred one consecutive patients older than 80 years, undergoing cardiac surgery between 1976 and 1994 (CABG with saphenous vein graft, 329 [54.7%]; CABG with left internal mammary artery, 101 [16.8%]; CABG + valve, 80 [13.3%]; isolated aortic valve replacement, 71 [11.8%]; isolated mitral valve replacement, 18 [3.0%]), were studied retrospectively to assess short- and long-term survival. They were compared with 11,386 patients aged 60 to 69 years and 5,698 patients aged 70 to 79 years undergoing similar procedures during the same time interval.


In comparison with patients 60 to 69 years old, more octogenarians were women (44.4% versus 25.6%, p<0.0001), had class IV angina (54.1% versus 38.9%, p<0.0001), and had congestive heart failure class IV (4.9% versus 3.0%, p = 0.0001). In-hospital death rates (9.1% versus 3.4%, p<0.0001) and stroke (5.7% versus 2.6%, p<0.0001) reflected these adverse clinical risk factors. However, Q-wave infarction tended to be less frequent (1.5% versus 2.6%, p = 0.102). Interestingly, hospital mortality (9.1% versus 6.7%, p = 0.028) was only slightly increased, and stroke (5.7% versus 4.7%, p = 0.286) was not more common in octogenarians than in patients 70 to 79 years old. Late-survival curves have similar slopes for the first 5 years in all clinical subgroups. However, after 5 years there is a more rapid decline in octogenarians than in younger age groups. Median 5-year survival was 55% for patients older than 80 years, 69% for patients 70 to 79 years, and 81% for patients 60 to 69 years old.


When appropriately applied in selected octogenarians, cardiac surgery can be performed with acceptable mortality and excellent 5-year survival.

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