(HealthDay News) – Advanced age is a risk factor for complications after thyroidectomy.

Raymon H. Grogan, MD, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study using data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database from 2005–2008. All thyroidectomy (7,915) and parathyroidectomy (3,575) patients with 30-day postoperative follow-up in the database were included in the analysis. Complications were aggregated into outcome measures, including urinary tract infection, wound infection, systemic infection, cardiac complications, pulmonary complications, 30-day mortality, and total hospital length of stay.

The researchers found increased age to be a risk factor for significant pulmonary, cardiac, and infectious complications after thyroidectomy. Compared to their younger counterparts (16–64 years), elderly patients (65–79 years) were twice as likely (odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4–3.3), and the super-elderly (>80 years) were five times as likely (OR, 4.9; 95% CI, 2.5–9.6), to have a complication. Pre-existing comorbidities increased the risk of complications even further.

“Elderly thyroidectomy patients are at increased risk for major systemic complications,” the authors write.

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