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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.