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Circulation. 1987 Nov;76(5 Pt 2):V6-12.

The effects of age on outcome after coronary bypass surgery.

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  • 1Division of Cardiac Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD 21205.


To study the effects of increasing age on outcome after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), 684 patients who underwent CABG from 1980 to 1985 were entered into a noncurrent prospective study. Patients were matched by date of operation and placed into three groups according to age: (1) 70 and older, (2) 55 to 69, or (3) less than 55. In addition to intraoperative and postoperative data collected on all patients, follow-up was obtained on 97% of the patients at a mean of 30 +/- 16 months. Older patients were more often female (p less than .002), and white (p less than .001) and had more preexisting cerebrovascular disease (p less than .0001), peripheral vascular disease (p less than .001), unstable angina (p less than .0001), and longer mean bypass pump times (p less than .001). Older patients had a higher hospital mortality (9.3% vs 2.2%), suffered more complications, including stroke, wound infection, reoperation for bleeding, need for intropic drug support, and prolonged ventilation, and had longer mean postoperative hospital stays (14 vs 9 days, p less than .0001). After discharge, mortality rates were similar in all groups, as was recurrence of symptoms and degree of rehabilitation. While patient age at operation significantly influenced hospital mortality and morbidity, this appeared to be a consequence of the greater frequency of risk factors in patients over 70 years of age. In addition, late follow-up failed to demonstrate any significant differences based on age alone in survival or functional status among patients undergoing CABG.

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