Mortality and complications in elderly patients undergoing cardiac surgery

J Crit Care. 2013 Aug;28(4):397-404. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2012.12.011. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to analyze postoperative complications, mortality, and related factors of elderly patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

Methods: An observational, retrospective, and multicenter study of cardiac surgery patients, obtained from the ARIAM registry, was performed between 2008 and 2011. Clinical-surgical data, postoperative complications, and mortality were analyzed in a group of patients older than 75 years and in a younger group.

Results: A total of 4548 patients were analyzed, with 882 (19.4%) patients at least 75 years old. Elderly patients had worse functional status (New York heart Association class) and comorbidities. The complication rate was higher in the elderly group (40.4% and 33.5%, respectively; P = .0001). Mortality in the elderly was 1.1%, 12%, and 15.1% (during surgery, intensive care unit [ICU], and 30-day mortality, respectively). Thirty-day mortality in elderly patients was higher when adjusted for EuroSCORE (European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation) and cardiopulmonary bypass time. The interaction between multiorgan dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and age more than 75 years was assessed by logistic regression, obtaining an odds ratio of 9.27 (5.88-14.60) for younger patients and 29.44 (12.22-70.94) for elderly patients who died during the ICU stay.

Conclusions: Age more than 75 years is an independent risk factor for ICU mortality when adjusted for EuroSCORE and cardiopulmonary bypass time. Elderly patients also have a higher rate of complications during ICU stay. Elderly patients develop MODS more frequently and present a higher mortality rate than younger patients with MODS.

Keywords: Cardiology; Cardiovascular disease; Complications; Elderly patients; Intensive care unit; Mortality; Octogenarians.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / mortality*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors