Functional capacity after cardiac surgery in elderly patients

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Objectives. This study was performed to determine whether cardiac surgery improves functional capacity in patients >70 years of age and to identify factors associated with good and poor functional results in this age group. Background. Cardiac surgery has been used increasingly among older patients, but the effectiveness of surgery in this age group remains controversial. Methods. Self-reported functional capacity was assessed by the Dyke Activity Status Index preoperatively and again 1 year after coronary artery bypass or valve replacement surgery in a total of 199 patients with a mean age of 76 years (range 70 to 91). Results. Functional capacity improved significantly after surgery (mean Duke Activity Status Index 27.9 at baseline vs. 36.8 at 12 months, p < 0.001), with improvements in most patients (74%). Six preoperative factors were independent predictors of less improvement in functional capacity between baseline and 1 year: smoking, female gender, higher Charlson comorbidity index, syncope, previous cardiac operation and older age. Postoperative complications were also a highly significant predictor of lower functional capacity at 1 year. Conclusions. Most older patients have meaningful improvements in functional capacity after cardiac surgery, and clinical factors appear to modify the degree of improvement attainable. © 1994.




Jaeger, A. A., Hlatky, M. A., Paul, S. M., & Gortner, S. R. (1994). Functional capacity after cardiac surgery in elderly patients. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 24(1), 104–108.

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