Is gastrectomy safe in the elderly? A single institution review

Am Surg. 2011 Apr;77(4):488-92.


The population of the United States is aging. Studies within the last several years have demonstrated that major abdominal operations in elderly patients can be done safely, but with increased rates of complications. We set out to determine the rates of morbidity and mortality in elderly patients undergoing gastric resection at a tertiary care university hospital. A retrospective analysis was performed of 157 consecutive gastric resections between January 1998 and July 2007. Group A (n = 99) consisted of patients < 75-years-old at surgery, whereas group B (n = 58) included patients who were ≥ 75 years of age at time of surgery. These two groups had their clinical and demographic data analyzed. Postoperative length of hospital stay, perioperative major morbidity, and in-hospital mortality were analyzed using analysis of variance, χ(2), and multivariate analyses. The average age of patients in group A was 57 years, compared with 81 years in group B. We found no significant difference in the percentage of gastric resections for malignancy (group A, 49% vs group B, 62%) or emergency surgery (group A, 10% vs group B, 10%) between age groups. There was a significant increase in length of stay in the older patients (11.7 days vs 17.6 days; P = 0.032), as well as major complications (11.1% in group A vs 27.6% in group B; P = 0.008). The in-hospital mortality rates approached significance (group A, 4% vs group B, 12%; P = 0.057). Gastric resection in elderly patients carries with it longer hospital stays, higher risk of complications, and in-hospital mortality rates despite similarity in patient disease. This information is imperative to convey to the elderly patients in the preoperative period before gastric resection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Gastrectomy* / adverse effects
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety*
  • United States / epidemiology