Study objectives: To evaluate cost, outcome, and functional status of octogenarians and septuagenarians after cardiac surgery.
Design: Observational case control study. Retrospective analysis of hospital cost and outcome. Prospective analysis of functional status at 1 to 2 years.
Patients: One hundred three consecutive octogenarians and 103 randomly selected septuagenarians who underwent cardiac surgery.
Setting: A university-affiliated tertiary care center.
Measurements and results: Compared to septuagenarians, octogenarians were more likely to be widowed (p ≤ 0.001) and to have had preoperative strokes (p ≤ 0.05) but were less likely to have diabetes mellitus (p ≤ 0.001). They were less likely to have undergone mitral valve surgery (p ≤ 0.01) but were more likely to have undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery without cardiopulmonary bypass (p ≤ 0.001). The hospital mortality rate was 6% in the younger group and 9% in the older group (odds ratio, 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.5 to 4.5; p > 0.05). In patients undergoing isolated CABG, the mortality rate was 1.4% in the septuagenarians and 8.2% in the octogenarians (odds ratio, 6.2; 95% CI, 0.7 to 52.7; p = 0.12). Despite similar ICU, postoperative, and total lengths of stay, the median hospital direct variable cost was 35% higher for the octogenarians. At late follow-up, octogenarians had lower levels of physical functioning and general health but otherwise had levels of function that were similar to those of septuagenarians.
Conclusion: Cardiac surgery can be performed in the elderly with good hospital and late functional results, but at a higher hospital cost than that for younger patients.