Age is one of the principal risk factors for colorectal adenocarcinoma. To date, older patients were believed to achieve worse treatment results in comparison with younger patients due to reduced vital capacity. However, papers have emerged in recent years which confirm that the combination of laparoscopy and postoperative care based on the ERAS protocol improves treatment results and may be particularly beneficial also for elderly patients. The aim of the study was to compare the outcomes of laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer in combination with the ERAS protocol in patients aged above 80 and below 55.
Material and methods: The analysis included patients aged above 80 and below 55 undergoing elective laparoscopic colorectal resection for cancer at the 2nd Department of General Surgery of the Jagiellonian University. They were divided into two groups according to their age: ≥ 80 years of age (group1) and ≤ 55 years of age (group 2). Both groups were compared with regard to the outcome of surgery: length hospital stay, complications, hospital readmissions, degree of compliance with the ERAS protocol, and recovery parameters (tolerance of oral nutrition, mobilisation, need for opioids, restored gastrointestinal function).
Results: Group 1 comprised 34 patients and group 2, 43 patients. No differences were found between both groups in terms of gender, BMI, tumour progression or surgical parameters. Older patients typically had higher ASA scores. No statistically significant differences were found with regard to the length hospital stay following surgery (5.4 vs 7 days, p=0.446481), the occurrence of complications (23.5% vs 37.2%, p=0.14579) or hospital readmissions (2.9% vs 2.4%). The degree of compliance with the ERAS protocol in group 1 and 2 was 85.2% and 83.0%, respectively (p=0.482558). Additionally, recovery parameters such as tolerance of oral nutrition (82.4% vs 72.1%, p=0.28628) and mobilisation (94.1% vs 83.7%, p=0.14510) within 24 hours of surgery did not differ among the groups. However, a smaller proportion of older patients required opioids in comparison with younger patients (26.5% vs 55.8%, p=0.00891).
Conclusions: Similar levels of compliance with the ERAS protocol may be achieved among patients aged ≥ 80 and younger patients. When laparoscopy is combined with the ERAS protocol, age does not seem to be a significant factor that could account for worse outcomes. Therefore, older patients should not be excluded from perioperative care based on ERAS principles.