Open Access Research article

Factors associated with mortality risk for malignant colonic obstruction in elderly patients

Ming-gao Guo1*, Yi Feng2, Jia-zhe Liu1, Qi Zheng1, Jian-zhong Di1, Yu Wang1, You-ben Fan1 and Xin-Yu Huang1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated The Six People’s Hospital, 200233 Shanghai, China

2 Intensive Care Unit, Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated First People’s Hospital, 201620 Shanghai, China

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BMC Gastroenterology 2014, 14:76  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-14-76

Published: 15 April 2014



Acute colonic obstruction is the most common complication of colorectal cancer (CRC) in elderly patients. Medical treatment has been associated with higher perioperative morbidity and mortality rates. There is a need for identification of elderly CRC patients who will do poorly so that results can be improved. The purpose of this study is to assess the 30-day outcome of elderly patients undergoing malignant colonic obstruction procedures and identify the associated factors of mortality.


A review of 233 elderly patients who received medical procedures for malignant colonic obstruction between April 2000 and April 2012 was conducted. Data regarding clinical variables, surgical procedures and outcomes, complications, and mortality were studied. Univariate and logistic regression analyses were performed on mortality risk factors.


Patients had a mean age of 78.2 years (range 70–95). A total of 126 (54.1%) patients were classified ASA III and above. Eighty (34.3%) patients had right-sided colonic obstruction. In the 153 (65.7%) patients with left-sided colonic obstruction, 40 patients received self-expandable metallic stent (SEMS) treatment and 193 patients received surgery. A total of 62.2% (n = 145) patients had post operation complications. The overall 30-day mortality was 24.5% (n = 57). ASA grading, peritonitis and Dukes staging were independent risk factors for mortality.


Medical procedures in elderly patients with malignant colonic obstruction are associated with significant complications and mortality. Identifying these high-risk patients and treating promptly may improve outcomes. SEMS treatment provides a useful alternative to surgical intervention.