Increased Postoperative Mortality and Complications Among Elderly Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: An Analysis of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Cohort

Natasha Bollegala, Timothy D. Jackson, Geoffrey C. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background & Aims Elderly patients may be at increased risk for poor outcomes after surgery for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We investigated postoperative mortality and the incidence of complications in elderly patients with IBD. Methods We identified patients who underwent major IBD-related abdominal surgery using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Participant Use Files, from 2005 through 2012. We compared mortality and postoperative complications between elderly patients (≥65 years old) and nonelderly patients (<65 years old). Results We identified 15,495 IBD patients who underwent surgery; of these, 1707 (11%) were elderly. Postoperative 30-day mortality was higher among elderly patients with Crohn's disease (CD) (4.2% vs 0.3% in nonelderly patients; P < .001) or ulcerative colitis (UC) (6.1% vs 0.7%; P < .001). After accounting for potential confounders, the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of postoperative mortality in patients with CD was 11.67 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.99–22.74), and in patients with UC was 4.39 (95% CI, 2.49–7.72). Postoperative complications were more common among elderly patients with CD (28.0% vs 19.4% in nonelderly patients; P < .001) or UC (39.3% vs 23.6% in elderly patients; P < .001). The aOR for any postoperative complication (excluding death) was 1.40 (95% CI, 1.16–1.69) in patients with CD and 1.74 for patients with UC (95% CI, 1.49–2.05). Elderly patients with UC were at increased risk for infectious complications, compared with nonelderly patients (aOR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.27–1.82). The risk of postoperative venous thromboembolism was higher in elderly patients with CD (aOR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.04–2.73). A higher proportion of elderly patients was still in the hospital more than 30 days after surgery (5.0% vs 1.8% for nonelderly patients; P < .001). Conclusions Elderly patients with IBD have substantially higher postoperative mortality and more complications than nonelderly patients with IBD. These increased risks should be considered when comparing risks of surgical vs medical therapy in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1281
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



  • Hospitalization
  • Old Age
  • Treatment
  • VTE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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