MEDICAL care for the steadily increasing number of elderly persons becomes a greater problem each year. Definitive treatment is possible for more of the diseases of the aged, but their diminished reserve and decreased life expectancy cannot be disregarded in deciding on a therapeutic approach. A study of the dangers and results of treatment is therefore valuable.
Investigation of patients beyond the age of 70 who had been operated on in the past three years at the Denver General Hospital showed that biliary tract disease ranked next to carcinoma of the stomach and colon in mortality and next to repair of hernias in frequency (Table 1). The records of all elderly patients treated for biliary tract disease by operative or nonoperative means were therefore reviewed to evaluate further this disease and its response to different types of therapy.
The problems of geriatric surgery have received increasing attention, and the importance