There is controversy whether the short-term and long-term results of coronary artery bypass grafting in elderly patients justify performing the procedure. Between January 1977 and December 1986, 4580 patients underwent coronary artery bypass grafting, of whom 222 (4.9%) were 75 years old or older (mean 77 years). There were 143 men and 79 women and 139 (63%) were in New York Heart Association class IV. One hundred forty-six patients (66%) had had at least one preoperative myocardial infarction. Myocardial revascularization was performed under emergency conditions in 17 patients (18%). The mammary artery was used in 43%, 96% of the patients received two or more grafts. The mean number of bypass grafts was 3.1 per patient. The overall hospital mortality rate was 10.8% (24/222), 3.6% for elective procedures, 14.9% in urgent cases, and 35% in emergencies. In contrast, the overall early mortality rate was 3.1% in 4358 patients less than 75 years old. Complications occurred in 83 patients (37%). Of the patients discharged from the hospital, 198 were followed up for a mean of 48 months (1 to 130). Actuarial probability of survival was 75% at 48 months. Postoperatively 70% were in New York Heart Association class I or II and only 21% were rehospitalized for cardiac problems. During the follow-up period 77% of the patients were free from angina, and of those experiencing angina the mean time from operation to the first episode was 75 months. Although elderly patients have a somewhat increased operative mortality rate, particularly if operated on urgently or emergently, long-term survival and freedom from angina are excellent and justify continued performance of coronary bypass grafting in selected patients over 75 years of age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine