Operations upon the elderly patient have always been approached with apprehension because of the added hazards posed by age. However, as the number of our senior citizens increases, we are being forced to take them to the operating room with ever increasing frequency. It is essential that we learn everything possible about the nature of the advanced geriatric patient and his reaction to operative stress.
The 1960 census reports 5,091 persons beyond 80 years of age living in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky. According to the Life Table statistics12 of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, a person who was 80 years old in 1960 had a remaining life expectancy of 6.4 years. A person 85 years of age in 1960 had an expected 4.8 years of life remaining.
While all population statistics show a marked increase in the number of persons living beyond the age of