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Am J Cardiol. 1992 Sep 1;70(6):567-71.

Performance status and outcome after coronary artery bypass grafting in persons aged 80 to 93 years.

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Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.


Although coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) effectively eliminates or diminishes symptoms of myocardial ischemia, the overall performance status and functional outcome in elderly patients undergoing CABG is poorly documented. Therefore, 86 consecutive patients aged 80 to 93 years undergoing isolated CABG were reviewed. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative characteristics and pre- and postoperative performance status (Karnofsky score) were examined. Forty patients (47%) were women, and most patients had highly symptomatic coronary artery disease with class III or IV angina in 94% and unstable angina in 90%. Significant co-morbid disease was present in 49% of patients, and cardiac catheterization revealed left main or 3-vessel disease in 74% of patients. The rate of significant in-hospital complications was 29%, with infection in 14%, stroke in 9%, and respiratory failure in 8% being most frequent. Median performance status (Karnofsky score) improved from 20 to 70% (p = 0.0001) with 89% of hospital survivors being discharged home. Factors associated with failure to achieve a successful functional outcome at discharge were presence of 1 or more preoperative co-morbid conditions (p = 0.048), preoperative myocardial infarction within 7 days of operation (p less than 0.01), and postoperative low cardiac output (p less than 0.01). Survival at 30 days, 6 months, and 3 years were 90, 78, and 64%, respectively. These data demonstrate that CABG can be offered to selected elderly patients with acceptable morbidity and mortality, marked improvement in performance status, and an acceptable quality of life.

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