Outcome 1 year after digestive surgery in malnourished, elderly patients, with an emphasis on quality of life analysis

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Quality of life data after digestive surgery in malnourished, elderly patients are rarely reported. What can we expect as 1-year outcomes in these high-risk patients after digestive surgery?


We conducted a prospective observational study in a digestive surgery department in a tertiary, nonacademic hospital in Mulhouse, France. Malnourished, older patients (according to the Nutritional Risk Index) undergoing digestive surgery between November 2007 and December 2008 were included and followed up for 1 year. Quality of life was measured by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 questionnaire at the end of the study period.


We included 37 patients with a median age of 76 (range 66–86) years in our study. The mean global health status and quality of life score in 17 of 24 living patients 1 year after surgery was 68.6 (standard deviation [SD] 12.4), and no difference with the score of a reference population 70.8 (SD 22.1) was observed (p = 0.68). Inhospital mortality was 11% and morbidity was 70%.


The present study suggests that despite high postoperative mortality and morbidity, an acceptable quality of life can be achieved in malnourished, elderly survivors of digestive surgery.

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