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Effect of anaesthesia and surgery on endocrine function in elderly patients


The effect of halothane-nitrous oxide anaesthesia and abdominal surgery on endocrine function was investigated in 18 elderly patients whose ages ranged from 65 to 77 (mean 69 years).

Cortisol levels in plasma increased significantly during anaesthesia and surgery, and the increases were slightly higher than those in young adults. Plasma aldosterone increased and insulin levels did not change during the procedures, and these levels were lower than in younger adults.

The endocrine responses in elderly patients were similar in magnitude to those in young adults. Therefore it appears that no special hormonal treatment is necessary for elderly patients undergoing routine surgical procedures.


Les effets sur la fonction endocrinienne d’une anesthésie à l’halothane-protoxyde d’azoteoxygène et de la chirurgie abdominale ont été étudiés chez 18 malades âgés de 65 à 77 ans (moyenne: 69 ans). Les taux de cortisol plasmatique se sont élevés de façon significative au cours de l’anesthésie et de la chirurgie; les élévations observées étaient légèrement plus importantes que celles trouvées chez les jeunes adultes. L’aldostérone plasmatique s’est également élevé. Les taux d’insuline plasmatique étaient plus bas que ceux des jeunes adultes et n’ont pas changé.

Les réponses endocriniennes chez les malades âgés étant semblables en importance à celles des jeunes adultes, une thérapie hormonale spéciale n’apparaît done pas nécessaire chez eux lors des interventions habituelles.


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Correspondence to T. Oyama or K. Taniguchi or T. Takazawa or A. Matsuki or M. Kudo.

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Oyama, T., Taniguchi, K., Takazawa, T. et al. Effect of anaesthesia and surgery on endocrine function in elderly patients. Canad. Anaesth. Soc. J. 27, 556 (1980).

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  • Cortisol
  • Growth Hormone
  • Young Adult
  • Aldosterone
  • Plasma Cortisol