Elderly patients undergoing surgery are a challenging group, The author discusses the risks and benefits of cardiac surgery in elderly patients, describes the advent of new technology, and provides strategies for the management of these patients.

An estimated 6.2 million inpatient cardiovascular operations and procedures are performed in the United States each year, accounting for 82000 valve procedures and 516000 coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgeries.11 Elderly patients undergoing surgery are a challenging group, and as the proportion of people 80 years and older continues to increase, so will the demand for cardiac surgery. However, because the mean life expectancy of a person 80 years old is approximately 88 years, many cardiologists are reluctant to refer elderly patients for elective surgery.22 Perceptions of elderly patients, their families, and their physicians that these patients may have...

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