Elderly more likely to survive planned surgeries

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Very elderly patients who undergo planned surgery are more than five times as likely to survive and live longer than very old patients who require emergency surgery or treatment in the intensive care unit.

That's according to a recent report in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. An examination of 578 elderly patients revealed that, after 3.7 years, 57% of planned surgery patients were still alive, compared with 11% of emergency surgery patients. Most unplanned surgery patients survived only one month after treatment, the report's authors noted. The patients' average age upon admission was about 82.

Elderly ICU patients may not receive life-saving therapy because of concerns that such treatments may be burdensome and not beneficial, according to Dr. Sophia E. J. A. de Rooij and colleagues from Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam.