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Surgery Patients Are Getting Older Every Year

A new BJS (British Journal of Surgery) analysis reveals that people undergoing surgery in England are getting older at a faster rate than the general population.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 1:41 pm EDT
"As we offer surgery more often to older patients, we may find the complications outweigh the benefits in many cases."

A new BJS (British Journal of Surgery) analysis reveals that people undergoing surgery in England are getting older at a faster rate than the general population.

In the analysis of hospital records in England, the number of people aged 75 years or older undergoing surgery increased from 544,998 in 1999 to 1,012,517 in 2015.The average age of patients undergoing surgery increased from 47.5 years in 1999 to 54.2 years in 2015. By contrast, the average age of the English population increased from 38.3 to 39.7 years.

If current trends persist, by 2030 more than 1.48 million people aged 75 years or older will have a surgical procedure each year. This represents one in ten people in England and one in five people among those aged 75 years or older. Conservative estimates suggest that these operations will cost in excess of €3.2 billion.

Because advancing age is linked with a higher risk of complications and death after surgery, the findings indicate that healthcare policies must adapt to ensure that surgical treatments remain safe and sustainable as the surgical population ages. Also, a public debate about the risks and benefits of some operations for elderly patients may be needed. Finally, there is no reason to think England is a special case, so it is likely these findings are relevant to other European countries.

“Older people are much more likely to experience complications after surgery but this risk is not always obvious to patients and doctors,” said senior author Prof. Rupert M. Pearse, of Queen Mary University of London. “As we offer surgery more often to older patients, we may find the complications outweigh the benefits in many cases.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bjs.11148

About Journal 

BJS is published on behalf of the BJS Society Ltd by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The Journal’s influence and standing has grown over the years through the ownership of its registered charity, the BJS Society. The Society’s objectives are to advance and improve education in surgery and to diffuse knowledge on new and improved methods of teaching and practising surgery in all its branches. It does this primarily through the promotion of the Journal but it has also developed strategic European partnerships. The BJS Council of Management is drawn mainly from these partner surgical associations whose relationship has increased the Journal profile and broadened its attraction globally. The Council is proud of the quality of the journal, the content of which is further enhanced by a hands-on approach by its editorial team in improving submitted manuscripts and the journal content.

About Wiley

Wiley drives the world forward with research and education. Our scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals and our digital learning, certification, and student-lifecycle services and solutions help students, researchers, universities, and corporations to achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to all of our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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Penny Smith +44 (0) 1243 770448 (UK)
newsroom@wiley.com

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