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J Urol. 2001 Sep;166(3):938-41.

Radical cystectomy is safe in elderly patients at high risk.

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Department of Urologic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.



Radical cystectomy is standard treatment for bladder cancer in healthy individuals. We determined the safety of radical cystectomy in elderly patients at high risk.


We reviewed the records of all patients who underwent radical cystectomy at our institution between January 1994 and June 2000. Of these 382 patients we identified 44 who were elderly and at high risk, as defined by age 75 years or greater and American Society of Anesthesiologists classification 3 or greater. We examined postoperative care, perioperative minor/major complications, the mortality rate and the need for rehospitalization.


Median age of the 44 patients was 77.5 years (range 75 to 87). American Society of Anesthesiologists class was 3 in 40 patients and 4 in 4. Median hospitalization was 7 days (range 4 to 20). Postoperatively 31 of the 44 patients (70%) were transferred directly to the general urology floor, while cardiac monitoring was required postoperatively in 30%. Nine of these patients were transferred to a step-down unit and the remaining 4 required surgical intensive care unit admission. Minor and major complications developed in 10 (22.7%) and 2 (4.5%) cases, respectively. No patients died in the perioperative period and 4 patients were hospitalized within 6 months of discharge home.


Our results support the safety of radical cystectomy in elderly patients at high risk. Acceptable perioperative morbidity and mortality may be achieved without routine intensive monitoring postoperatively.

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