Postsurgical complications in older patients. The role of pharmacological intervention

G Zuccalà, Alberto Cocchi, Giovanni Gambassi, Roberto Bernabei, Pierugo Carbonin

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

7 Citazioni (Scopus)


The number of elderly patients undergoing surgery has been rapidly increasing during the last few years. Following surgical interventions, high rates of mortality and morbidity have been reported in the most advanced age groups. Nevertheless, perioperative evaluation and postoperative care are the major determinants of the overall outcome. Postsurgical complications are common in advanced age, since multiple pathology is often present in geriatric patients. Furthermore, the decreased efficiency of homeostatic mechanisms may facilitate the development of multiple organ failure (MOF), even as a consequence of apparently slight alterations in immune, cardiac or respiratory systems. Thus, prompt recognition and treatment of any complication often prevents the development of irreversible conditions. While cardiac and pulmonary complications account for 50% of early postoperative adverse events, infections, thromboembolism, renal failure, stress ulcers and coagulation disorders may occur well after surgical procedures. An important part of postoperative geriatric care is the diagnosis and correction of fluid, electrolyte and acid-base disturbances. These disturbances may manifest as mild, atypical signs, such as slight neuromuscular depression or delirium. Yet, they often constitute life-threatening conditions that should be rapidly and properly corrected. Finally, it should be remembered that, due to the frequent use of multiple drugs, elderly patients are at high risk of developing adverse drug reactions. Thus, the treatment of postoperative complications requires a strong rational effort to disentangle the combined effects of aging, drugs and pathology.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)419-430
Numero di pagine12
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 1994


  • Analgesics
  • Geriatrics
  • Humans
  • Infection
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Postoperative Complications


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