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Octogenarians undergoing cardiac surgery do well

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, Apr 7 (Reuters) People in their 80s who undergo cardiac surgery survive longer than their peers of the same age and sex in the general population, according to a report by UK researchers published in the medical journal Heart.

''Age by itself is not a contraindication to surgical treatment,'' Dr Samer A M Nashef from Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, told Reuters Health. ''Patients, no matter how old they are, should have the opportunity to consider the various treatment options.'' Nashef and colleagues used a database to investigate trends and outcomes of operations for octogenarians. They found that octogenarians accounted for nearly 10 percent of the 12,461 patients who had cardiac surgery, and who were tracked for up to 7.6 years after their operation.

During that period, the mortality rate among octogenarians who underwent cardiac surgery was less than half the expected mortality in the general population, the researchers note.

Results were similar when men and women were analyzed separately, the investigators say.

''It is important not to overstate our results,'' Nashef cautioned. ''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.'' There are two reasons for this finding, Nashef explained. ''One is that heart disease is a big killer, so neutralizing its impact will help, but the other is that those patients who are put forward for heart operations at an advanced age tend to be at the fitter end of the spectrum, so judicious selection is also taking place.'' SOURCE: Heart, April 2006.


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