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Patient Mortality Lower for Older Versus Young Surgeons

THURSDAY, April 26, 2018 -- For patients undergoing non-elective surgery, patient mortality is lower for older versus younger surgeons, according to a study published online April 25 in The BMJ.

Yusuke Tsugawa, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., from the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted an observational study in U.S. acute care hospitals to examine whether patient mortality differs according to age and sex of surgeons. Data were included for 892,187 patients aged 65 to 99 years who underwent one of 20 major non-elective surgeries and were treated by 45,826 surgeons.

The researchers found that patient mortality was lower for older versus younger surgeons, with adjusted operative mortality rates of 6.6, 6.5, 6.4, and 6.3 percent for surgeons aged under 40 years, 40 to 49 years, 50 to 59 years, and 60 years and older, respectively. Adjusted operative mortality did not differ for patients treated by female versus male surgeons (adjusted mortality, 6.3 and 6.5 percent for female and male surgeons, respectively; odds ratio, 0.97; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.93 to 1.01). Patient mortality decreased with age of surgeon for both male and female surgeons after stratification by sex of surgeon (except for female surgeons aged 60 years or older); the lowest operative mortality was seen for female surgeons in their 50s.

"This study found that patients treated by older surgeons had lower mortality than patients treated by younger surgeons," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Posted: April 2018

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