More than 12% of defibrillators were implanted in people older than 80, . Doctors implant about 158,000 of the devices each year, according to the American College of Cardiology. The total of the procedure runs about $60,000.
Procedures performed in the elderly range from major operations that require lengthy recoveries to relatively minor surgery performed in a doctor’s office, such as the removal of nonfatal skin cancers, that would likely never cause any problems.
led by Eleni Linos, MD, has shown that people with limited life expectancies are treated for nonfatal skin cancers as aggressively as younger patients. Among patients with a nonfatal skin cancer and a limited time to live, 70 percent underwent surgery, according to her .
When less is more
Surgery poses serious risks for older people, who weather anesthesia poorly and whose skin takes longer to heal. Among seniors who undergo urgent or emergency abdominal surgery, 20% die within 30 days,.