Assessing the impact of an ageing population on complication rates and in-patient length of stay.

International journal of surgery (London, England)

PubMedID: 23917211

McVeigh TP, Al-azawi D, O'Donoghue GT, Kerin MJ. Assessing the impact of an ageing population on complication rates and in-patient length of stay. Int J Surg. 2013;.
Ireland has an ageing population; with the proportion of people aged over 80 years estimated to increase over the next 20 years from 1.1% to 2.1%.

The aim of this study was to examine the demographics of the population served by the surgical department in a tertiary referral centre in the west of Ireland and to examine whether increasing age had an influence on morbidity, mortality and length of stay.

Data pertaining to all surgical admissions over a 6-month period between was collected prospectively using an ACS-NSQIP based proforma. Data collected included patient age, gender, operative intervention, in-patient length of stay, mode of admission and complications related to their admission.

A total of 2209 patients were admitted under the care of the general, vascular and breast services in our centre over a 6-month period between August and January. Two thousand and nineteen patients had complete data collected. The average age was 50.37 years (±23.62), with 24.12% (n = 533) older than 70 years. Only 12.31% of patients aged younger than 70 years experienced morbidity, compared to 25.10% of older patients. It was shown that there was a stepwise increase with complication rates and hospital in-patient stay across each decade of increasing age. Multivariate analysis showed those factors most predictive of a complication to include emergency admission, major or complex major surgical intervention, female gender and age. Length of stay was also found to have a positive correlation with increasing age (Spearman's Rho, p < 0.001).

Increasing age is associated with increased complication rates and increased hospital length of stay.