Advanced colorectal neoplasia in the high-risk elderly patient: is surgical resection justified?

Dis Colon Rectum. 1993 Feb;36(2):161-6. doi: 10.1007/BF02051172.


A review of the perioperative morbidity and mortality and long-term survival in elderly and high-risk patients with colorectal neoplasia was undertaken. Elderly high-risk patients with localized disease were compared with those with advanced disease. Over a five-year period, 82 high-risk (at least one major organ system disease), or elderly (age > or = 70 years) patients underwent an operation for colorectal neoplasia. Overall, 43 of 82 (52 percent) had advanced disease (obstruction, perforation, hemorrhage, or metastatic disease), while 39 of 82 (48 percent) had localized disease. The mean age of all patients was 78.2 years. Preoperative comorbid diseases included: coronary atherosclerosis, 59 (72 percent); previous myocardial infarction, 17 (21 percent); previous arrhythmia, 10 (12 percent); emphysema, 32 (39 percent); renal failure, 6 (7 percent); and cirrhosis, 3 (4 percent). At the time of surgery, 26 patients (32 percent) had metastatic disease. Six patients (7 percent) died in the perioperative period. The presence of advanced neoplasia did not significantly affect 30-day mortality. There was no difference in major morbidity between patients operated on for localized and for advanced disease. The mean actuarial 18-month survival was less for patients with advanced disease (P < 0.05). Sixty-eight patients (83 percent) are alive at a follow-up of 17.7 +/- 29 months postoperatively. The morbidity and mortality associated with resection of colorectal neoplasia in high-risk elderly patients are acceptable even in the presence of advanced disease. In select patients, resection offers the best palliation and may improve the quality of remaining life.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis