Advanced age is a risk factor for post-operative complications and mortality after a pancreaticoduodenectomy: a meta-analysis and systematic review

HPB (Oxford). 2012 Oct;14(10):649-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-2574.2012.00506.x. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Background: The aim of this meta-analysis was to analyse the outcomes of major pancreatic surgery among the elderly (≥75 and ≥80 years of age).

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using Embase, MEDLINE, Cochrane and PubMed databases on all studies published between January 1990 and April 2012 reporting peri-operative outcomes after a pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) among the elderly. Primary end-points measured were peri-operative mortality and the incidence of post-operative complications. Secondary outcomes considered included the incidence of post-operative pancreatic fistula formation (POPF), delayed gastric emptying (DGE), wound infection, pneumonia, post-operative bleeding and length of hospital stay.

Results: Eleven trials were included comprising 5186 patients; 7 studies comparing endpoints in patients aged ≥75 years vs. younger populations and 4 studies comparing endpoints in patients aged ≥80 years vs. younger populations. In both groups, there was a statistically significant increase in the incidence of mortality and post-operative pneumonia in the elderly population. The incidence of post-operative complications was also found to be statistically significant among patients ≥80 years of age vs. their younger cohorts.

Conclusions: There is an increased incidence of post-operative mortality and pneumonia after a PD among all elderly patients ≥75 years of age, as well as an increased incidence of post-operative complications among patients ≥80 years of age. Additional randomized control trials studying post-PD operative outcomes in elderly vs. younger patients with standardization of comorbidities is therefore necessary to confirm the conclusions presented here.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy / adverse effects*
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy / mortality*
  • Pneumonia / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome