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A Journal on Surgery

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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.


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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