Predictors of Mortality Up to 1 Year After Emergency Major Abdominal Surgery in Older Adults

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To identify factors associated with mortality in older adults 30, 180, and 365 days after emergency major abdominal surgery.

DESIGN:

A retrospective study linked to Medicare claims from 2000 to 2010.

SETTING:

Health and Retirement Study (HRS).

PARTICIPANTS:

Medicare beneficiaries aged 65.5 enrolled in the HRS from 2000 to 2010 with at least one urgent or emergency major abdominal surgery and a core interview from the HRS within 3 years before surgery.

MEASUREMENTS:

Survival analysis was used to describe all-cause mortality 30, 180, and 365 days after surgery. Complementary log–log regression was used to identify participant characteristics and postoperative events associated with poorer survival.

RESULTS:

Four hundred individuals had one of the urgent or emergency surgeries of interest, 24% of whom were aged 85 and older, 50% had coronary artery disease, 48% had cancer, 33% had congestive heart failure, and 37% experienced a postoperative complication. Postoperative mortality was 20% at 30 days, 31% at 180 days, and 34% at 365 days. Of those aged 85 and older, 50% were dead 1 year after surgery. After multivariate adjustment including postoperative complications, dementia (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.24–3.31), hospitalization within 6 months before surgery (HR = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.12–2.28), and complications (HR = 3.45, 95% CI = 2.32–5.13) were independently associated with worse 1-year survival.

CONCLUSION:

Overall mortality is high in many older adults up to 1 year after undergoing emergency major abdominal surgery. The occurrence of a complication is the clinical factor most strongly associated with worse survival.

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