Factors predicting mortality in emergency abdominal surgery in the elderly

World J Emerg Surg. 2012 May 11;7(1):12. doi: 10.1186/1749-7922-7-12.


Objective: This study aimed to investigate clinical features of abdominal emergency surgery in elderly patients, and to determine factors predicting mortality in these patients.

Methods: The study population included 94 patients aged 80 years or older who underwent emergency surgery for acute abdominal diseases between 2000 and 2010. Thirty-six patients (38.3%) were male and fifty-eight patients (61.7%) were female (mean age, 85.6 years). Main outcome measures included background of the patient's physical condition (concomitant medical disease, and performance status), cause of disease, morbidity and mortality, and disease scoring system (APACHE II, and POSSUM). Prognostic factors affecting mortality of the patient were also evaluated by univariate analysis using Fisher's exact test and Mann-Whitney U-test, and by multivariate analysis using multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results: Of the 94 patients, 71 (75.5%) had a co-existing medical disease; most patients had hypertension (46.8%). The most frequent surgical indications were acute cholecystitis in 23 patients (24.5%), followed by intestinal obstruction in 18 patients (19.1%). Forty-one patients (43.6%) had complications during hospital stay; the most frequent were surgical site infection (SSI) in 21 patients (22.3%) and pneumonia in 12 patients (12.8%). Fifteen patients died (overall mortality, 16%) within 1 month after operation. The most common causes of death were sepsis related to pan-peritonitis in 5 patients (5.3%), and pneumonia in 4 patients (4.3%). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that time from onset of symptoms to hospital admission and the POSSUM scoring system could be prognostic factors for mortality.

Conclusions: Mortality in elderly patients who underwent emergency surgery for acute abdominal disease can be predicted using the disease scoring system (POSSUM) and on the basis of delay in hospital admission.