Predictors of postoperative complications in high-risk octogenarians undergoing cardiac operations

Ann Thorac Surg. 2002 Sep;74(3):671-7. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(02)03741-4.


Background: Cardiac operations in octogenarians are currently reserved for selected patients with severe symptoms and low extracardiac comorbidity; early and midterm results are satisfactory. We evaluated the outcome of high-risk octogenarians undergoing cardiac operations and investigated the predictors of postoperative complications.

Methods: Between June 1998 and March 2001, 73 consecutive octogenarians (mean age = 83.1 +/- 3.0 years) hospitalized and awaiting operation in our Department were analyzed for postoperative complications. We recorded the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease, symptoms of heart failure, previous myocardial infarction, reoperation, left ventricular ejection fraction, use of intraaortic balloon pump, surgical priority, and operative risk. Cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and renal failure were the preoperative extracardiac comorbidities considered. We adopted a multidisciplinary approach to perioperative management.

Results: Surgical procedures included coronary artery bypass grafting in 36 patients (49.3%), valve procedures in 20 (27.4%), and combined coronary artery bypass grafting and valve procedures in 17 patients (23.3%). In-hospital death occurred in 6 patients (8.2%). Twenty-one patients (28.8%) had major postoperative complications including renal failure (15.1%), respiratory failure (8.2%), and myocardial infarction (8.2%). The main predictors of postoperative complications were New York Heart Association functional class IV, Canadian Cardiovascular Society angina class 4, and prolonged aortic cross-clamping time.

Conclusions: Cardiac operations can achieve satisfactory results even in high-risk octogenarians. Early surgical intervention before severe symptoms appear, and a multidisciplinary approach to perioperative management, may reduce postoperative complications.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death*
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / mortality*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / mortality*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*