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Surviving surgery

According to a new study older patients run a higher risk from elective surgery. Researchers in the US have tried to quantify the risks associated with surgery, which should help patients and doctors make more wise choices. Deciding on having an operation is never a zero risk option. But sometimes it is essential for your future health.//

Researchers believe that operative deaths for those aged 80 or more are twice those for patients aged between 65 and 69. Mortality, however, depends very much on the type of surgery. Carotid endarterectomy, for instance, has the lowest mortality of 1.3 per cent. This operation clears blockages in the artery serving the brain, which would otherwise raise the risk of stroke.

But various kinds of cancer surgery, such as removal of the lung or oesophagus, are linked with 8.6 per cent to 13.7 per cent mortality. However, without this surgery the patient might die of their disease. So it's a matter of the doctor and the patient weighing up the risks and benefits of different kinds of surgery.


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