Although operations performed on elderly patients under most circumstances are more hazardous than when done on young patients, Cole1 points out that it is not generally realized that, if concurrent and complicating diseases are eliminated, aged patients will tolerate operative procedures of moderate magnitude almost as well as the young. Few will dispute the statement that the reserve of certain body functions and organs decreases with the passing of time. There is, for instance, reliable evidence to demonstrate that the elasticity of arteries and arterioles decreases with age; consequently, elderly persons are more susceptible to vascular shock than young persons. Similarly, arteriosclerotic changes in the vascular supply of the kidney make the elderly patient especially vulnerable to renal dysfunction, while degenerative vascular changes probably explain why older persons tolerate heat and cold so poorly. Moreover, elderly patients are more susceptible than the young to anoxia and to infections. As
SURGICAL SURVIVAL OF THE YOUNG AND THE AGED. JAMA. 1953;153(8):728–729. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940250034011
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