Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dartmouth/VA Study Reveals New, Realistic Estimates For Surgery Survival In Older Americans

Date:
August 21, 2001
Source:
Dartmouth Medical School
Summary:
For older patients, the risk of death associated with elective surgery is far greater than previously estimated, and frequently higher than 10%, according to a new Dartmouth study.

Hanover, NH —- For older patients, the risk of death associated with elective surgery is far greater than previously estimated, and frequently higher than 10%, according to a new Dartmouth study.

Related Articles


Reviewing major elective procedures in more than a million patients aged 65 to 99, Dartmouth/VA researchers found that mortality risk increases with age and operative deaths for patients 80 years and older was more than twice that for patients 65 to 69 years old. Their findings, reported in the July/August Effective Clinical Practice, can help patients and physicians make better informed decisions about surgery.

John Birkmeyer, MD, associate professor of surgery at Dartmouth Medical School, and Emily Finlayson, MD, research fellow at White River Junction VA Medical Center, found that operative mortality for major surgery not only varies by procedure and patient age, but is considerably higher than that typically reported in case series and trials of operative mortality. Operative mortality is defined as death within 30 days of the operation or death before discharge.

"When reviewing surgical risks with patients, surgeons often rely on one-size-fits all-estimates, which tend to be unrealistically low," said Birkmeyer. He added, "Both surgeons and patients need to be aware that operative mortality depends strongly on patient factors--particularly age. Elderly patients often have risks two- to four-fold higher than younger patients. Mortality risks also depend on where the surgery is performed. Unfortunately, some hospitals have much higher mortality rates than others."

Taken together, all of these factors can give patients a more realistic starting point for understanding surgical risk. For those considering elective major surgery, information about operative mortality risks is essential for careful decision making.

Because available information is often limited to educated guesses or optimistic data from case series, Finlayson and Birkmeyer examined surgical population-based mortality by using nationwide data. Their study shows, for example, that carotid endarterectomy to unblock the carotid artery had the lowest overall operative mortality (1.3%) while the highest overall mortality (8.6% to 13.7%) was observed for removal of all or part of the stomach (gastrectomy), esophagus (esophagectomy) and lung (pneumonectomy), and major pancreatic resection.

Patients and physicians should have ready access to operative mortality data based on observed mortality in actual practice, say Finlayson and Birkmeyer, and should have the best possible information from their physician when making a decision about elective surgery.

The Dartmouth researchers examined mortality in 1.2 million patients in the Medicare system who were hospitalized between 1994 and 1999 for 14 high risk elective surgeries (six cardiovascular procedures and eight major cancer resections) using the MEDPAR file of the National Medicare claims database for patients 65 years of age and older.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth Medical School. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Dartmouth Medical School. "Dartmouth/VA Study Reveals New, Realistic Estimates For Surgery Survival In Older Americans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010821075402.htm>.
Dartmouth Medical School. (2001, August 21). Dartmouth/VA Study Reveals New, Realistic Estimates For Surgery Survival In Older Americans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010821075402.htm
Dartmouth Medical School. "Dartmouth/VA Study Reveals New, Realistic Estimates For Surgery Survival In Older Americans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010821075402.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins