Cochlear implant surgery is safe for the elderly

March 1st, 2009 - 11:46 am ICT by ANI  

Washington, March 1 (ANI): Healthy elderly patients with severe to profound hearing loss can undergo a surgical procedure to receive cochlear implants with minimal risk, says an Indian-origin researcher.

“Due to concerns about the effects of general anesthesia, many elderly people with hearing loss are not receiving the implants which can significantly improve their hearing and quality of life,” says Dr. Anil Lalwani, Mendik Foundation Professor of Otolaryngology and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at NYU School of Medicine and a study co-author.

“The elderly are often incorrectly considered too fragile for this life transforming technology that can deliver them from a world of silence and loneliness to a world of hearing and engagement,” he adds.

According to a research article published in the journal The Laryngoscope, the researchers conducted a retrospective chart review of 70 patients over 70 years of age who received cochlear implants under general anesthesia at NYU Langone Medical Center between 1984 and 2007.

The researchers revealed that the patients were divided into risk groups, and intraoperative and postoperative anesthesia-related complications were identified.

They observed that most patients tolerated the procedure, and there was no long-term morbidity or mortality related to the surgery or anesthesia.

Based on their observations, the researchers came to the conclusion that general anesthesia is well tolerated by elderly patients undergoing cochlear implantation.

They said that any pre-existing medical condition is a better predictor of intraoperative and postoperative complication than age alone.

Dr. Jung T. Kim, Vice chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at NYU School of Medicine and a study co-author said: “As seniors embrace a healthy and active lifestyle, it is important that age alone should not deter a person from having surgery that could potentially improve their quality of life.” (ANI)

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