Octogenarians fare well with cardiac surgery

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You're never too old for cardiac surgery, a new study suggests.

People in their 80s who undergo the surgery survive longer than their peers of the same age and sex in the general population, according to a report published in the journal Heart. UK researchers tracked octogenarians for up to 7.6 years after their operation. During that period, the mortality rate for this group was less than half the expected mortality in the general population, the researchers note.

Still, "it is important not to overstate our results," cautioned Dr. Samer A.M. Nashef from Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. "The fact that patients over 80 who have cardiac surgery survive longer than others of the same age does not mean that all octogenarians should have heart surgery."