Background: Restorative proctocolectomy with ileopouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) is the treatment of choice for intractable or complicated ulcerative colitis (UC). Debate exists concerning outcomes of IPAA in the elderly and literature data are scarce. We report our experience of IPAA in older population. Methods: We gathered data on a prospective database of patients undergoing IPAA for UC over 70 years of age in our Unit from January 1990 through January 2010. Patients were compared with randomly selected younger controls on a 1:3 ratio. Patients underwent IPAA in 2 or 3 stages. Demographical data, disease characteristics, comorbidities, concomitant medications, peri-operative management, intra- and post-operative complications were analyzed. Function and quality of life were assessed by clinical visit and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire 1 and 3 years after ileostomy takedown. Results: Twenty-seven elderly patients underwent IPAA for UC in the study period; these were compared with 81 younger controls. The former had more comorbidities and higher ASA score. All patients underwent loop-ileostomy closure. There were no differences between groups concerning the rate of major complications, but elderly patients more frequently had nuisances due to stoma output. Younger patients experienced significantly more episodes of small bowel obstruction. No significant differences in bowel control and health-related quality of life was observed, except for an higher rate of elderly patients taking antidiarrhoeals at 1-year follow-up; this observation was not confirmed at 3-year follow-up. A minimal decrease in continence was observed, but this did not affect overall satisfaction. Conclusions: IPAA can be safely offered to selected elderly UC patients who are strongly motivated and with no clinical disturbances of continence. In experienced hands no differences are likely to be expected concerning complications, quality of life and function. Results are stable with time and comparable to those of younger patients.
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