Treatment of Elderly Patients with Aneurysm of Abdominal Aorta

(Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Musashino Red Cross Hospital, Tokyo, Japan)

Hitoshi Fujiwara Takahiko Sugano Takeshi Someya
Between December 1994 and December 2002, surgical repair of aneurysm of the abdominal aorta (AAA) was performed in 139 patients, 32 of whom had ruptured AAA. Thirty-nine patients were 80 years old or older (O) and 100 patients were younger (Y) than 80. The ratio between ruptured and unruptured AAA was significantly higher among older patientsiO: 41.0% versus Y: 16.0%, p=0.002). Surgical mortality was identical in those receiving elective repair (O: 0% versus Y: 0%) and similar in those receiving repair following rupture (O: 13.3% versus Y: 28.5%, p=0.314). A diagnosis of AAA had been made before rupture in only 10 patients, whose survival rate was relatively higher (100%) than that of patients without known AAA (66.7%). Ten patients died of ruptured AAA without surgery. Four of them had intractable cardiopulmonary arrest despite attempts at resuscitation. Four other patients were debilitated due to other disease even before rupture of AAA. Another 2 patients were diagnosed as ruptured AAA at autopsy. In conclusion, elective surgical repair is safe in elderly patients with AAA. The survival rate of elderly patients following rupture of AAA is comparable to that of younger patients. Some patients, however, should be excluded from aggressive treatment because of associated conditions such as marked debilitation prior to rupture or uncorrectable cardiopulmonary arrest on arrival. Patient selection is a sensitive but important issue in the era of society being composed of many elderly people.
@Jpn. J. Cardiovasc. Surg. 32: 337 -342 (2003)