Study shows that cochlear implant surgery is safe for the elderly

February 27, 2009

Contrary to conventional medical wisdom, a new study by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers shows that healthy elderly patients with severe to profound hearing loss can undergo a surgical procedure to receive cochlear implants with minimal risk.

"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," according to Anil Lalwani, M.D., 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," says Dr. Lalwani. The new study is published in the February issue of the journal The Laryngoscope.

The National Institute on Aging estimates that about one-third of Americans between ages 65 and 74 have hearing difficulty - and that number increases to 50 percent in people 85 and older. In about 10% of the elderly, the impairment is so severe that conventional hearing aids provide little benefit. The inability to communicate interferes greatly with daily living and can lead to cognitive impairment, personality changes, depression, reduced functional status and social isolation.

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 patients were divided into risk groups and intraoperative and postoperative anesthesia-related complications were identified. Most patients tolerated the procedure and there was no long-term morbidity or mortality related to the surgery or anesthesia.

The researchers concluded that general anesthesia is well tolerated by elderly patients undergoing cochlear implantation. Any pre - existing medical condition is a better predictor of intraoperative and postoperative complication than age alone, they observed. Jung T. Kim, M.D. 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."

Source: NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

Explore further: Researchers focus on pain management in older adults

Related Stories

Researchers focus on pain management in older adults

December 20, 2017
Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington are focusing their attention on pain management in older adults, a segment of the population which presents a specific series of challenges to health providers.

No link between anesthesia, dementia in elderly

May 1, 2013
Elderly patients who receive anesthesia are no more likely to develop long-term dementia or Alzheimer's disease than other seniors, according to new Mayo Clinic research. The study analyzed thousands of patients using the ...

Conscious sedation is a safe alternative to general anesthesia for heart valve procedure

April 11, 2017
UCLA scientists have found that conscious sedation—a type of anesthesia in which patients remain awake but are sleepy and pain-free—is a safe and viable option to general anesthesia for people undergoing a minimally invasive ...

99-year-old woman regains mobility following spinal procedures

December 23, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A 99-year-old woman has returned to her daily routine after doctors repaired three separate compression fractures in her spine three times in a month. Specialists at the University of Rochester Medical ...

Research provides strong link between delirium and inflammation in older patients

July 27, 2015
Delirium is an acute state of confusion that often affects older adults following surgery or serious illness. Now a study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) confirms that inflammation - an ...

'Watch and wait' approach often best for older patients with kidney cancer

February 13, 2013
(HealthDay)—Sometimes, simply watching and waiting is a safe alternative to surgery for older patients with small kidney tumors, a new study suggests.

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.