South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
INTRODUCTION: Octogenarians constitute a rapidly growing segment of patients undergoing colorectal cancer resection, but their outcomes remain understudied and under-reported. Our aims were to analyse outcomes of octogenarian patients undergoing curative colorectal resections compared with a similar cohort 2 decades younger. METHODS: Data from a prospectively collected database of consecutive patients undergoing colorectal resection between 2004 and 2006 were analysed. Primary endpoints were 30-day mortality and morbidity. The secondary endpoint was long-term survival. RESULTS: Eighty-one consecutive patients aged >80 years and 61 patients aged 60 - 70 years undergoing elective and emergency resections were identified. In the octogenarian group, 75.3% of resections were elective compared with 78.0% in the younger cohort (p=0.9), with pelvic procedures accounting for 34.6% and 44.3%, respectively (p=0.34). The elderly had a significantly higher median CR-Possum (performance status) score than the younger cohort (18.0 v. 14.0; p=0.001). Permanent stoma rates were similar (22% for octogenarians v. 27% for younger patients; p=0.8), as was pathological stage (p=0.24). There was 1 death within 30 days after resection in each group. Median survival in the octogenarian cohort was 73 months compared with 74 months in the younger cohort, and 5-year survival rates were 53.1% and 66.0%, respectively (p=0.2, Mantel-Cox). CR-Possum score did not affect overall survival (p=0.711, Mantel-Cox), but a higher score correlated with more postoperative complications in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Octogenarians have poor performance status, but can undergo resection with acceptable mortality and morbidity. Overall survival in the two age groups studied was similar, with poor performance status being associated with higher postoperative complications but no long-term difference in survival.