Purpose: As the number of elderly people has increased, the number of elderly patients who need emergency operations has also increased. Although there are many models to evaluate the risk of surgery in elderly patients, they all are associated with limitations. We herein evaluated the prognostic factors for surgical mortality in elderly patients more than 80 years old who needed emergency operations. Methods: A total of 171 patients more than 80 years old underwent emergency operations from January 2001 to December 2012. Among them, 79 patients with acute cholecystitis, panperitonitis and intestinal obstruction with strangulation, which included mortality cases, were included. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of the patients and analyzed the prognostic factors for surgical mortality. Results: Forty-eight patients had a co-morbidity. Thirty-one patients initially had systemic inflammatory response syndrome. There were 27 surgical mortality cases. A univariate analysis revealed that panperitonitis, a positive blood culture and the level of albumin were significant prognostic factors predicting a worse prognosis. However, a multivariate analysis revealed that a serum albumin level more than 3.5 g/dL was the only significant prognostic factor (p = 0.037). Conclusion: Surgeons cannot fully evaluate the risk of emergency operation cases. However, our data indicate that if patients do not show hypoalbuminemia, the surgeon may be able to perform an emergency operation without a high risk of surgical mortality.
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