Current Geriatrics Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 122–126 | Cite as

Thoracic Surgery in Older Patients

  • Mark S. AllenEmail author
Surgical Care for the Geriatric Patient (F Luchette and R Gonzalez, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Surgical Care for the Geriatric Patient


Purpose of Review

The purpose of the review is to describe recent findings concerning the thoracic surgical management of elderly patients.

Recent Findings

The population of the USA is aging and the “baby boomer” generation members are now elderly. Pulmonary function declines, leading to an increase in the risk of a postoperative pulmonary complication. The cardiovascular system stiffens, making it more difficult for elderly patients to tolerate fluid shifts. Particular attention should be paid to nutrition, support systems, and frailty in the elderly. Outcomes are generally worse in the elderly. End-of-life discussions are important for these patients. Surgeons need to do a better job of initiating these discussions.


Elderly patients are becoming increasingly common for thoracic surgeons. They have specific physiologic changes that can alter the postoperative course thus require careful consideration. Outcomes are not as good for this group of patients making careful discussions about preoperative and postoperative issues important.


Lung cancer Lobectomy Esophagectomy Geriatrics Elderly population Thoracic Surgery Surgical care 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Mark Allen declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Mayo FoundationMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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