Pharyngeal Pouch Surgery in Octo- and Nonagenarians is Safe and Effective: A Multicentre Comparative Cohort Study

Mohamed Afzal, David S. Liu, Tim Bright, David I. Watson, Peter G. Devitt, Sarah K. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Surgery is the only effective treatment strategy for a symptomatic pharyngeal pouch. However, octo- and nonagenarians are often denied referral to a surgeon because of perceived increased risks. Here, we compare the outcomes of pharyngeal pouch surgery in octo- and nonagenarians with patients under 80 years-of-age and determine the factors which predict post-operative complications and improvement in swallowing. Methods: Analysis of a prospectively maintained database of patients who underwent pharyngeal pouch surgery across seven hospitals over 15 years. Results: In total, 113 patients (≥80 years-of-age: 27, <80 years-of-age: 86) underwent endoscopic or open pharyngeal pouch surgery. Despite more comorbidities and a longer hospital stay (median: one extra day), patients ≥80 years-of-age had comparable operative time, complication profile, intensive care admission, emergency reoperation, and revisional pouch surgery as their younger counterparts. Furthermore, the severity of complications was not significantly different between the two age cohorts. No surgical mortality was recorded. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that diverticulectomy combined with cricopharyngeal myotomy independently predicted higher rates of complications (OR: 4.53, 95% CI: 1.43–14.33, p = 0.010), but also greater symptomatic improvement (OR: 4.36, 95% CI: 1.50–12.67, p = 0.007). Importantly, a greater proportion of octo- and nonagenarians experienced improved swallowing than patients <80 years-of-age (96.3% vs. 74.4%, p = 0.013). Moreover, advanced age was not predictive of post-operative complications on multivariate analysis. Conclusions: Pharyngeal pouch surgery in octo- and nonagenarians is safe and effective. Surgical correction in this age group alleviates symptoms and improves quality-of-life for most patients. These patients should not be denied surgery on the basis of advanced age alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1819-1827
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Pharyngeal Pouch Surgery
  • Octogenarians
  • Nonagenarians
  • patient outcomes


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