Respiratory function in the elderly

Anesthesiol Clin North Am. 2000 Mar;18(1):47-58, vi. doi: 10.1016/s0889-8537(05)70148-6.


Aging reduces the reserve capacity of virtually all pulmonary functions. Age-related alterations in the respiratory system are based on structural changes that lead to functional impairment of gas exchange. Pulmonary complications during anesthesia and the postoperative period are significantly increased in elderly patients with pre-existing diseases. The physiologic changes in the aged respiratory system and their anesthetic implications are reviewed in this article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • Respiratory System / anatomy & histology