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Ann Thorac Surg. 1999 Dec;68(6):2129-35.

Cardiac surgery in octogenarians: can elderly patients benefit? Quality of life after cardiac surgery.

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Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



Increasing numbers of the very old are presenting for cardiac surgical procedures. There is little information about quality of life after hospital discharge in this group.


From March 1995 to February 1997, 127 patients older than 80 years at operation (mean age, 83+/-2.5 years; range, 80 to 92 years) were entered into the cardiac surgery database and analyzed retrospectively. The RAND SF-36 Health Survey and the Seattle Angina Questionnaire were used to assess quality of life by telephone interview (mean follow-up, 15.7+/-6.9 months). No patient was lost to follow-up.


Operations included coronary artery bypass grafting (65.4%), coronary artery bypass grafting plus valve replacement (15.8%), and isolated valve replacement (14.2%). Preoperatively, 63.8% were in New York Heart Association class IV. Thirty-day mortality was 7.9%, and actuarial survival was 83% (70% confidence interval, 79% to 87%) at 1 year and 80% (70% confidence interval, 75% to 85%) at 2 years. Preoperative renal failure significantly increased the risk of early death (relative risk, 3.96) as did urgent or emergent operation (relative risk, 6.70). In addition, cerebrovascular disease (relative risk, 3.54) and prolonged ventilation (relative risk, 3.82) were risk factors for late death. Ninety-five patients (92.2%) were in New York Heart Association class I or II at follow-up. Seattle Angina Questionnaire scores for anginal frequency (92.3+/-18.9), stability (94.4+/-16.5), and exertional capacity (86.8+/-25.1) indicated good relief of symptoms. SF-36 scores were equal to or better than those for the general population of age greater than 65 years. Of the survivors, 83.7% were living in their own home, 74.8% rated their health as good or excellent, and 82.5% would undergo operation again in retrospect.


Octogenarians can undergo cardiac surgical procedures at a reasonable risk and show remarkable improvement in their symptoms. Elderly patients benefit from improved functional status and quality of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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