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Anesth Analg. 2003 Feb;96(2):590-4, table of contents.

Prognostic significance of postoperative in-hospital complications in elderly patients. II. Long-term quality of life.

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Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


To determine the impact of nonfatal in-hospital postoperative complications on long-term quality of life and functional status, we studied consecutive patients > or = 70 yr of age who had undergone noncardiac surgery. The association between the occurrence of nonfatal in-hospital postoperative complications and long-term quality of life (measured by the Medical Outcome Study Short form 36) and functional status was determined 2-3 yr after surgery. Independent predictors of quality of life and functional status were measured by multivariate logistic regression. Two-hundred-sixty-four of 353 patients (74.8%) responded to the survey. The mean Medical Outcome Study Short form 36 scores of patients with in-hospital postoperative complications were significantly lower than those without complications in the following domains: physical functioning (42.8 versus 53.9; P = 0.029), general health (52.3 versus 62.3; P = 0.02), and role emotional (45.7 versus 67.9; P = 0.00058). Patients who had postoperative complications were more likely to be dependent in daily living activities. Comparison with age-matched United States population showed that patients with postoperative complications had lower scores in physical functioning (42.8 versus 53.2; P = 0.04), role physical (26.6 versus 45.3; P = 0.0078), role emotional (45.7 versus 63.2; P = 0.025), and mental health (66 versus 74; P = 0.024). By multivariate logistic regression analysis, only a history of diabetes (odds ratios 4.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-10.3; P < 0.002 and new hospitalization because of medical reasons (odds ratio, 3.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.6-8.8; P < 0.002) were significant independent predictors of a long-term decrease in quality of life. Adjusting for other clinical factors, in-hospital complications no longer independently predicted changes in functional status. For geriatric patients, the occurrence of postoperative complications does not independently predict long-term quality of life or functional status. The important independent predictors are co-morbid conditions, age, and new hospitalization after discharge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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