Valid data show that surgeries on older patients are successful. A 2003 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology followed 220 patients age 65 and older who underwent heart-valve surgery. The study concluded that “age does not appear to limit the health related quality of life benefits” of surgery. Even patients over 75 had symptom relief and improvements in quality of life “on a par with improvements seen in younger patients.”
The California study, published in February in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found higher death rates from pneumonia, congestive heart failure, stroke, gastrointestinal hemorrhage and hip fractures at low-spending hospitals. The study’s authors calculated that 13,813 California patients treated for these conditions between 2004 and 2008 would have survived had they been treated at higher-spending ones hospitals rather than low-spending ones.
The Pennsylvania study produced similar results, showing higher survival rates at higher-spending hospitals.