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November 13, 1954


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Anesthesiology, Wesley Memorial Hospital, and the Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Medical School.

JAMA. 1954;156(11):1045-1048. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950110007003

Modern anesthesia must deal with many problems that current conditions have produced. With the increase in life expectancy the numbers of older patients undergoing major surgery in recent years have correspondingly increased. Surgical statistics at Wesley Memorial Hospital in Chicago show a 35% increase in the number of patients over the age of 60 who had surgery in 1952 as compared with 1942. During the same period there was a 55% increase in the number of patients over the age of 75. These elderly patients are not only suffering from the pathological conditions requiring surgery but have additional degenerative pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases as well as nutritional deficiencies. Most of these patients tolerate the trauma of surgery and anesthesia poorly, deteriorate readily, and are slow to recuperate. Thus the anesthesiologist is faced with the special problem of the proper choice of anesthetic agent and method in older patients and all

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