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Invited Commentary
December 2013

Geriatric Risk Assessment in Surgery: Keeping It Simple

Author Affiliations
  • 1Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 2State University of New York Downstate School of Medicine, New York, New York
  • 3State University of New York Downstate School of Public Health, Brooklyn, New York
JAMA Surg. 2013;148(12):1138-1139. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.2765

Jones et al1 are trying to make things simple. As surgeons, we interact daily with elderly patients who come with complex histories, which are suited in a panoply of drugs that we barely recognize and can adversely affect the results of our operations. We are immediately expected to accurately address their surgical risk. We need some simplicity.

Surgeons are expected to predict outcomes daily—it is even documented as the risks, benefits, and alternatives conversations we have with our patients and families. For elderly patients, there are established tools we can use to do this risk assessment (discussed here), but the best ones are complex and time consuming, and I frankly cannot remember all the variables needed for the calculations within each model.

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