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Avoiding Surgery in the Elderly
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 8:50 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From the Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: New York Times) - It may take members of our parents' generation (and our own) a long time to get over thinking of hospitals as refuges of safety and operating rooms as harbingers of better days ahead. But it's gradually becoming clearer that for the very old and frail, and for nursing home residents in particular, hospitals are places to avoid whenever possible, and surgery can become a source of danger in itself.

Even operations considered fairly routine in younger patients, like appendectomies, become high-risk for nursing home residents. "Something about undergoing anesthesia, the surgery's physiological assault on the body, impacts older people much more than we think," said Dr. Emily Finlayson.

In fact, the study, which compared mortality risks and subsequent interventions for four types of major abdominal surgery, found that even compared with adults of similar age who had the same number of chronic illnesses - but who weren't in institutions - nursing home residents fared sharply worse.

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