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Chirurgia 2004 October;17(5):153-6

language: English

Serum levels of melatonin and postoperative sepsis in the elderly

Leardi S., Pietroletti R., Maira E., Barnabei R., Necozione S., Simi M.


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Aim. Melatonin seems to modulate the immune system. Immune system dysfunction is a risk factor of sepsis. In the elderly, the serum levels of melatonin are reported to be low and postoperative sepsis rate is high. Aim of this study was to investigate a possible relation between the impaired rhythm of melatonin secretion and the onset of postoperative septic complications in the elderly.
Methods. Sixty-four consecutive old patients, aged from 70 to 94 years, undergoing open surgery, have been studied. Melatonin serum levels have been evaluated by ELISA technique at 6 p.m., 12 p.m., 3 a.m., 8 a.m., and immediately before the operation.
Results. Postoperative septic complications have been recorded. In patients with postoperative septic complications (23%) the melatonin peak appeared early with serum levels at 3 am. and 8 a.m. lower (14.00 pg/ml at 6 p.m., 22.10 pg/ml at 12 p.m., 18.95 pg/ml at 3 a.m., 9.14 pg/ml at 8 a.m.) than in patients without postoperative septic complications (5.37 pg/ml at 6 p.m., 19.22 pg/ml at 12 p.m., 39.94 pg/ml at 3 a.m., 11.19 pg/ml at 8 a.m.), however without statistically significant difference.
Conclusion. The study does not seem to show a significantly correlation between impaired rhythm of melatonin secretion and postoperative septic complications in the elderly.

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