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Minerva Chirurgica 1999 September;54(9):591-6


language: Italian

Surgical approach to non-neoplastic abdominal pathology in the elderly patient

Siragusa G., Geraci G., Albanese L., Epifanio E.


Background. The authors evaluate the most suitable approach to be used in elderly patients suffering from non-neoplastic abdominal pathology.
Methods. A retrospective evaluation was made of cases observed over the past two years. Follow-up continued for at least three months after treatment.
Setting. General Surgery 1, Department of Surgical and Anatomic Disciplines, Policlinico, University of Palermo.
Patients. A total of 92 patients were treated aged between 65 and 94 years old (mean age 79.5). The most frequently observed pathologies were cholelithiasis and hernia, treated both electively and in emergency.
Operations. 76 patients were treated electively and 16 underwent emergency surgery.
Parameters examined: The authors evaluated postoperative progress, morbidity and mortality.
Results. Morbidity was equal to 6.5%. Death occurred in three patients, one of whom had been operated a month earlier.
Conclusions. Surgery is considered appropriate in the elderly patient provided an adequate pre-, intra- and postoperative approach is usede. The preoperative phase should include a multidisciplinary evaluation to assess surgical risk (ASA and APACHE). During surgery, the most beneficial solution should be found which takes account of the patient's life expectancy; whenever possible, is it advantageous to resort to video-laparoscopy owing to the diagnostic accuracy of this method, as well as the capacity to adjust subsequent surgery whether it is performed using video-assisted laparoscopy or targeted mini-laparotomy. This causes less surgical aggression and therefore a more comfortable postoperative recovery. During the latter phase, vital and biohumoral parameters should be accurately monitored to ensure the prompt recognition of organic collapse and/or metabolic disorders consequent to surgical stress.

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