Total Gastrectomy: Updated Operative Mortality and Long-Term Survival with Particular Reference to Patients Older than 70 Years of Age

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The authors conducted a study of patients who underwent total gastrectomy for gastric malignancy to elucidate contributing factors that lead to successful management of this disease in geriatric patients.

Summary Background Data

The average mortality rate for patients undergoing stomach surgery due to carcinoma is 7.8% according to the literature overview, still relatively high. Even higher mortality rates are observed for geriatric patients after a total gastrectomy. Because of epidemiologic changes, a total gastrectomy is required with growing frequency in these high-risk patients.


The study involved 380 patients with a gastric malignancy. Risks and benefits of a total gastrectomy with radical lymphadenectomy at an advanced age were analyzed retrospectively in 163 patients older than 70 years of age. The results achieved in these patients were compared with those observed in 217 younger patients.


The 30-day mortality and morbidity rates for the elderly patients were 3% and 33.7%, respectively; for the younger patients, they were 0.46% and 21.2%, respectively. A statistically significant correlation was found between the presence of risk factors, the occurrence of complications, and the mortality rate. No difference was seen between the two age groups when risk factors were absent. The 5-year survival rate was 30%, with no difference between young and elderly patients.


The data prove that a total gastrectomy with a radical lymphadenectomy can be carried out safely in older patients, with long-term results comparable to those achieved in younger patients.

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