Background: The population is progressively aging and an increasing number of elderly patients face surgical treatment. Objective: The current study was designed to examine the perioperative morbidity and mortality of elderly patients undergoing orthopedic or urologic surgery and look for predictors for adverse outcome. Methods: This is a prospective study of elderly patients, 80 years of age and older, who underwent elective or emergent orthopedic or urologic surgery in our institution during a 5-month period. Data were collected on age, gender, chronic diseases, number of regular medications, whether or not the patient was bedridden before surgery, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, type of surgery and anesthesia, duration of hospitalization, and 30-day postoperative morbidity and mortality. We studied correlations between pre- and intraoperative parameters and postoperative complications. Results: During the study period, 39 patients underwent urologic surgery and 147 patients underwent orthopedic surgery. Age ranged from 80 to 98 years (85 ± 4.2 years, mean ± SD). One patient had an intraoperative complication, 5 patients had postoperative complications within 1 day of surgery, and 23 had complications within 1 month of surgery. Five (2.7%) patients, all of whom were operated urgently, died after surgery. Postoperative complications correlated significantly to poor ASA class (p = 0.01), urgency of the procedure (p = 0.03), and extent (p = 0.02) and duration (p = 0.01) of surgery. No significant correlation was found between outcome and any other pre- or intraoperative factors. Conclusions: Elderly surgical patients with poor ASA class or following urgent, extensive or long surgery are at a higher risk for postoperative morbidity and mortality, mandating special perioperative care.

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