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Med Clin North Am. 1993 Mar;77(2):327-33.

Is age a risk factor for surgery?

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  • 1Division of General Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.


The question of age as a risk factor for surgery is complicated. There are many factors that have an impact on mortality rates in surgical care of the elderly. The most important of these are the physiologic changes with aging, underlying disease states, the type of procedures performed, and whether the procedure is performed as an emergency. Although there are many risks in performing surgery in elderly patients, there are many patients who do well and benefit from undergoing surgical procedures. Age alone should never be used as the criterion to deny surgery indicated in an elderly patient.

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