Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is becoming increasingly common, and appears to be a viable treatment, among individuals in their 90s, according to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology.
CABG surgery creates new pathways around narrowed and blocked arteries, allowing sufficient delivery of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. Researchers studied the outcomes of the surgery on 4,224 nonagenarian Medicare patients who underwent the procedure from 1993 through 1999.
“Our results indicate that nonagenarians who are currently selected for CABG procedures can achieve years of life consistent with their elderly peers,” said Judith Lichtman, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and lead author of the study.
CABG surgeries rose from 325 in 1993 to 883 in 1999. The researchers did follow-up studies five years after the procedures and found that women—who made up half of the patients—had better post-surgical survival rates than men. The women, however, were more likely to be discharged to a nursing home after the surgery.
The authors said additional research is needed to assist patients and physicians in determining the appropriateness of these procedures for this elderly population.
Co-authors include Norinna Allen, Yun Wang, Roger Kapoor, Martha Radford, M.D., and Harlan Krumholz, M.D.
American Journal of Cardiology: December 2007
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