As population age, healthcare systems and providers are likely to experience a substantial increase in the proportion of elderly patients requiring emergency surgery. Emergency surgery, compared with planned surgery, is strongly associated with increased risks of adverse postoperative outcomes due to the short time available for diagnosis, optimization, and intervention in patients presenting with physiological derangement. These patient populations, who are often frail and burdened with a variety of co-morbidities, have lower reserves to deal with the stress of the acute condition and the required emergency surgical intervention. In this review article, we discuss topical areas where mitigation of the physiological stress posed by the acute condition and asociated surgical intervention may be feasible. We consider the impact of the adrenergic response and use of beta blockers for these high-risk patients and discuss common risk factors such as frailty and delirium. A proactive multidisciplinary approach to peri-operative care aimed at mitigation of the stress response and proactive management of common conditions in the older emergency surgical patient could yield more favorable outcomes.
- Emergency surgery
- Surgical stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine