JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Pelvic exenteration in the elderly patient.

Advanced age is frequently considered a contraindication to radical exenterative surgery. We reviewed the outcomes of 63 patients age 65 years or older who underwent pelvic exenteration between 1960-1991 at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Sixty-three percent had preexisting medical illnesses. Major or potentially life-threatening complications were noted in 38% of the patients. An additional 38% experienced minor complications. Sixty percent experienced one or more infectious complications, including pyelonephritis, wound infection, sepsis, and flap necrosis. When both major and minor complications were considered, infectious morbidity was the single largest category. Although they are not life-threatening, nonspecific infectious morbidity and transient confusion were the most frequent individual complications, occurring in 26 and 24% of patients, respectively. Twenty-four percent of the patients experienced no complications. Thirty-four percent of the postoperative survivors suffered late major morbidity. Operative mortality was 11%; multisystem failure was the most frequent cause of death. After a mean follow-up of 4 years, 22 patients were alive with no clinical evidence of disease. Twenty-one patients died of recurrent disease, with a median time to recurrence of 9.6 months. The 5-year survival rate for the group was 46%. In comparison, 363 patients younger than age 65 who underwent exenteration during the same period experienced an operative mortality rate of 8.5% and a 5-year survival rate of 45%, neither of which were significantly different from the rates found for the older group (P = .51 and .52, respectively).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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