Colorectal Cancer Surgery in the Very Elderly: Nonagenarians

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Surgery in the very elderly is a topic that has not been well studied, despite the steady rise in this population. With the rise in this population, there is now discussion on the safety of surgery in this cohort for colorectal cancer.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to investigate elective and nonelective colorectal cancer surgery outcomes in patients aged ≥90 years at both private and public hospitals in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

DESIGN:

This was a retrospective analysis of patients aged ≥90 years who were included in the prospectively maintained Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery colorectal neoplasia database for patients entered between January 2010 and February 2015. Comorbidity, ASA score, acuity of surgery, treatment, mortality, morbidity, and survival were analyzed.

SETTINGS:

This study was conducted in a tertiary referral hospital.

PATIENTS:

A total of 48 patients were identified from the database. The majority of these patients were women (58.0%), ASA score III to IV (91.7%), and treated in an elective setting (79.2%). The median age was 91.8 years.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

We measured 30-day mortality, 180-day mortality, and perioperative morbidity.

RESULTS:

Thirty-day mortality rate was 2.1%. The 180-day mortality rate was 10.4%. A total of 29.2% of patients had a perioperative complication. Median follow-up was 21 months (range, 13–54 months). In 180-day mortality, minimally invasive surgery was associated with a lower mortality rate vs open surgery (p = 0.043). Perioperative complications were associated with nonelective surgery (p = 0.045), open surgery procedures (p = 0.014), and higher stages of disease (p = 0.014). A total of 81.3% of patients were able to return home after surgery.

LIMITATIONS:

This was a retrospective study with the usual limitations; however, these have been minimized with the use of a high-quality, prospective data collection database. The median follow-up was 21 months.

CONCLUSIONS:

Colorectal surgery was generally safe for nonagenarians in this study. This study demonstrates that excellent outcomes can be achieved in a selected group. Additional prospective studies with larger numbers and 5-year follow-up are recommended.

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