More Complications After Thyroid Surgery in Elderly

Elderly thyroid patients have higher rates of cardiac, pulmonary, and infectious complications

MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Advanced age is a risk factor for complications after thyroidectomy, according to a study published online March 14 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Raymon H. Grogan, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study using data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database from 2005 to 2008. All thyroidectomy (7,915) and parathyroidectomy (3,575) patients with 30-day postoperative follow-up in the database were included in the analysis. Complications were aggregated into outcome measures, including urinary tract infection, wound infection, systemic infection, cardiac complications, pulmonary complications, 30-day mortality, and total hospital length of stay.

The researchers found increased age to be a risk factor for significant pulmonary, cardiac, and infectious complications after thyroidectomy. Compared to their younger counterparts (16 to 64 years), elderly patients (65 to 79 years) were twice as likely (odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.4 to 3.3), and the super-elderly (80 years or older) were five times as likely (OR, 4.9; 95 percent CI, 2.5 to 9.6), to have a complication. Pre-existing comorbidities increased the risk of complications even further.

"Elderly thyroidectomy patients are at increased risk for major systemic complications," the authors write.

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