-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Older black and Hispanic
patients are more likely than white seniors to have complications
after surgery, and pre-existing medical conditions are a major
reason for that difference, a large new study suggests.
Researchers examined the rates of 13 common types of
complications among more than 587,000 white, black and Hispanic
patients aged 65 and older who had general, orthopedic or vascular
surgery in 600 hospitals in the United States.
The investigators found that black patients were nearly three
times more likely than white patients to develop 12 of the 13
complications. Hispanic patients were twice as likely as white
patients to develop nine of the 13 complications but less likely to
develop two of the complications.
However, the number of complications among black and Hispanic
patients dropped significantly when the researchers accounted for
hospital and patient characteristics, according to the study
published in the September issue of the
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
"The risk of developing a postoperative complication may be attributed to a number of factors. Most pronounced, however, was the effect of pre-existing medical conditions," study lead author Dr. J. Margo Brooks Carthon, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, said in a journal news release.
The researchers also found that gender influenced the risk of
"The risk of developing certain postsurgical complications . . . differs for men and women -- even men and women of the same ethnic and racial backgrounds," Brooks Carthon pointed out.
The researchers said their findings show the need to improve
surgical safety and quality, especially for older minority patients
who are often sicker before having surgery and thus at greater risk
for complications after surgery.
"Our study also suggests the need for further evaluation of patient risk factors prior to surgery and more vigilant surveillance of patients following operative procedures," Brooks Carthon concluded.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging offers advice to
older adults considering surgery.
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