Increasingly, patients of advanced age are coming for evaluation of periampullary tumors. Although several studies have demonstrated the safety of resecting periampullary tumors in older patients, few long-term survival data have been reported. Between 1983 and 1992 various periampullary masses were resected in 70 patients over age 65 (range 65-87 years). Total pancreatectomy was performed in 11 patients, and 59 patients underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy. The mean duration of hospitalization was 17 ± 15 days. Major complications occurred in 27 patients (39%), and operative mortality rate was 8.5%. Overall median survival was 24 months; and 5-year survival was 25%. Perioperative outcome was compared in patients aged 65 to 74 years and in patients ≥75 years old. The older age group required longer periods in the surgical intensive care unit postoperatively, but the long- term survival was similar in the two age groups. Radical resection with the intent to cure periampullary tumors is safe in selected patients of advanced age, and long-term survival is in the range of expected survival for younger patients with the same tumors.
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