NYMC Faculty Publications

Safety Analysis of a Multispecialty Surgical Volunteerism Mission Over Thirteen Years - Age Alone is not a Contradiction

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Acta Chirurgica Belgica

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INTRODUCTION: About five billion people worldwide lack access to safe surgery and multispecialty surgical volunteer missions (SVMs) offer a plausible solution to this problem. This study aimed to evaluate the outcomes of elderly patients operated on over 13 surgical missions between 2006 and 2019 from "Operation Giving Back Bohol" Tagbilaran, Philippines.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data on all patients treated during SVM over 13 years (2006-2019). Non-elderly (age 16-64 years) were compared with the elderly (age ≥65 years) for pre-, intra-, and postoperative variables. Multivariable logistic regression was utilized to identify independent predictors of postoperative complications.

RESULTS: Of 1184 patients, the majority (1030) were in the non-elderly group and 154 in the elderly. The mean age was 36 ± 13.6 and 68.3 ± 3.8 years in the non-elderly and elderly groups, respectively. Comorbidities, type of surgery, type of anesthesia, operating time, estimated blood loss, estimated blood loss, need for blood transfusion, postoperative complication rates, comprehensive complication index, length of hospital, ICU requirement, and mortality rates stay did not significantly differ between the groups. Multivariable logistic regression found pelvic surgery (OR (95%CI) = 3.7 (1.3-10.8);

CONCLUSIONS: Elderly patients may be safely undergo general surgery procedures in surgical volunteer missions, and age alone should not preclude them.