Aim. The number of cardiac operations in octogenarians is steadily increasing. A review of personal 4 years' experience is made in order to identify which variables are associated to a poor prognosis in this high risk population. Methods. Perioperative variables and short-term outcome of 109 consecutive octogenarians were prospectively collected in a database. Data were analysed with descriptive statistics. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify preoperative risk factors for prolonged mechanical ventilation and ICU stay. Results. The 109 octogenarians represented 1.8% of the 4 940 cardiac operations performed at our University Teaching Hospital in the period January 1998-June 2001: 94 patients had comorbidities (86%); 46 underwent valve surgery (42%), 38 had coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (36%), and combined procedures or aortic arch replacement were performed in 25 patients (22%). Two patients died (1.8%). Postoperative complications included: myocardial infarction (10 patients, 9%), stroke (6 patients, 5%), renal replacement therapy (1 patient, 1%). Sixty nine patients (63%) had an uneventful perioperative period (63%). On a multivariate analysis, cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) time was associated with prolonged intubation and ICU stay; mitral pathology predicted prolonged intubation while previous cardiac surgery was associated with prolonged ICU stay. Conclusion. The 109 octogenarians studied had an excellent course in the immediate postoperative period. Therefore, on the basis of personal experience cardiac surgery could be safely performed in octogenarians.
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