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August 1968

Effect of Surgery on Psychological and Social Functioning in Elderly Patients

Author Affiliations


From the Psychiatric, Neurologic, and Medical Services, Minneapolis Veterans Hospital, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Dr. Crosbie is now at the Denver Veterans Administration Hospital.

Arch Intern Med. 1968;122(2):109-115. doi:10.1001/archinte.1968.00300070013003

Effects of elective surgery, mainly of ulcer and biliary tract types on intellectual and social functioning of 63 male patients with a mean age of 67 years, were determined and comparisons were made with a control group. Study variables included demographic, medical, neurological, psychometric, aphasic, and social adjustment measures. No significant differences were found between surgery and control groups before surgery or on any of four six-month follow-up examinations except for a favorable change on a personality measure of mood in the surgery group but not in the control group. The study supports the prevailing view of the desirability of elective surgery in aged patients. Significant differences between biliary tract and ulcer surgery patients in weight, blood pressures, and social adjustment scores suggested that these syndromes might best be studied as separate subgroups.