An Evaluation of Sex-Based Differences in Surrogate Consent for Older Adults Undergoing Surgical Intervention

An Evaluation of Sex-Based Differences in Surrogate Consent for Older Adults Undergoing Surgical Intervention
Nupur Nagarkatti, Samuel M. Miller, Vanita Ahuja, Eric B. Schneider, Sanjay Mohanty, Lisa M. Kodadek
Journal of Surgical Research, August 2023; 288 pp 246-251
Differences between female and male patients have been identified in many facets of medicine. We sought to understand whether differences in frequency of surrogate consent for operation exist between older female and male patients.
Materials and methods
A descriptive study was designed using data from the hospitals participating in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. Patients age 65 y and older who underwent operation between 2014 and 2018 were included.
Of 51,618 patients identified, 3405 (6.6%) had surrogate consent for surgery. Overall, 7.7% of females had surrogate consent compared to 5.3% of males (P < 0.001). Stratified analysis based on age categories showed no difference in surrogate consent between female and male patients aged 65-74 yy (2.3% versus 2.6%, P = 0.16), but higher rates of surrogate consent in females than males among patients aged 75-84 y old (7.3% versus 5.6%, P < 0.001) and age ≥85 y (29.7% versus 20.8%, P < 0.001). A similar relationship was seen between sex and preoperative cognitive status. There was no difference in preoperative cognitive impairment in female and male patients age 65-74 y (4.4% versus 4.6%, P = 0.58), but higher rates of preoperative cognitive impairment were seen in females than males for those age 75-84 (9.5% versus 7.4%, P < 0.001) and aged ≥85 y (29.4% versus 21.3%, P < 0.001). Matching for age and cognitive impairment, there was no significant difference between rate of surrogate consent in males and females.
Female patients are more likely than males to undergo surgery with surrogate consent. This difference is not based on patient sex alone – females undergoing operation are older than their male counterparts and more likely to be cognitively impaired.

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