Emergency colorectal surgery in the elderly has been associated with a high mortality rate. Although the current trend for the management of obstructing left-sided colorectal carcinoma favours primary resection and anastomosis, the safety and benefits of this approach in the elderly have not been studied.Methods
Some 57 elderly (aged more than 70 years) and 59 younger patients underwent emergency resection of an acutely obstructing left-sided colorectal carcinoma. Postoperative results in the two groups were compared.Results
The primary resection rate was 95 per cent in the elderly and 89 per cent in younger patients (P=0.70), with a primary anastomosis rate of 84 per cent and 78 per cent respectively (P=0.64). Elderly patients had a significantly higher incidence of premorbid risk factors and postoperative cardiorespiratory complications but no increase in surgical complications. Anastomotic leaks occurred in 6 per cent of the elderly and 4 per cent of younger patients (P=0.65), and the hospital mortality rate was 9 and 5 per cent respectively (P=0.48).Conclusion
Emergency resection and primary anastomosis for left-sided obstructing colorectal carcinoma can be performed with favourable outcome in the elderly and should be the treatment of choice in most elderly patients.