Objectives The goal of this study was to characterize the association of age with postoperative mortality and need for transitional care following hepatectomy for liver metastases. Methods A retrospective cohort study using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2005-2008) was performed. Patients undergoing hepatectomy for liver metastases were categorized by age as: Young (aged <65 years); Old (aged 65-74 years), and Oldest (aged ≥75 years). Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of in-hospital mortality and need for transitional care (non-home discharge). Results A total of 4026 patients were identified; 36.6% (n = 1475) were elderly (aged ≥65 years). Rates of in-hospital mortality and non-home discharge increased with advancing age group [1.3% vs. 2.2% vs. 3.3% (P = 0.005) and 2.1% vs. 6.1% vs. 18.3% (P < 0.001), respectively]. Independent predictors of in-hospital mortality were age within the Oldest category [odds ratio (OR) 2.21, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19-4.12] and a Deyo Comorbidity Index score of ≥3 (OR 6.95, 95% CI 3.55-13.60). Independent predictors for need for transitional care were age within the Old group (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.66-3.58), age within the Oldest group (OR 8.48, 95% CI 5.87-12.24), a Deyo score of 1 (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.40-2.85), a Deyo score of 2 (OR 4.70, 95% CI 2.93-7.56), a Deyo score of ≥3 (OR 6.41, 95% CI 3.67-11.20), and female gender (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.15-2.11). Conclusions Although increasing age was associated with higher risk for in-hospital mortality, the absolute risk was low and within accepted ranges, and comorbidity was the primary driver of mortality. Conversely, need for transitional care was significantly more common in elderly patients. Therefore, liver resection for metastases is safe in well-selected elderly patients, although consideration should be made for potential transitional care needs.
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