Safety of pancreatic resection in the elderly: a retrospective analysis of 556 patients

Authors Daniel Ansari, Linus Aronsson, Joakim Fredriksson, Bodil Andersson, Roland Andersson.


Background The safety of pancreatic resection for elderly patients is still controversial. We examined the postoperative morbidity and mortality in patients aged 75 years or more undergoing pancreatic resection.

Methods Patients undergoing pancreatic resection were studied retrospectively and the outcomes were compared between patients aged <75 and ≥75 years.

Results Of the 556 patients enrolled, 78 (14%) were ≥75 years old. Elderly patients had significantly more co-morbidities, especially cardiovascular pathology (P=0.005). Also, elderly patients had significantly lower body mass index prior to surgery (P=0.005). There were no significant differences in terms of surgical procedures and tumor types between age groups. The incidence of postoperative pancreatic fistula grade A was significantly lower in the elderly group (P=0.022), but no significant differences were noted in the overall morbidity or the incidence of postpancreatectomy hemorrhage, delayed gastric emptying, bile leakage, cardiac complications, pulmonary complications or septic complications. The 30-day mortality rate was similar between groups (0.8% vs. 1.3%; P=0.532).

Conclusion Pancreatic resection is a safe option for selected elderly patients. Our study confirms that age alone should not preclude potentially curative surgical therapy.

Keywords Pancreatic resection, elderly patients, outcome

Ann Gastroenterol 2016; 29 (2): 221-225


Original Articles