Apparently they can.
Current mindset will tell you that doctors and patients' relatives have doubts over the chances of survival of 80-year-olds during and long after heart bypass operations.
Latest findings by doctors from the UK and Canada based on 12,461 patients, 706 of whom were over 80 years of age at the time of the heart bypass surgery, suggest that old age --- being 80, that is --- is not a hindrance at all in having the said operation.
The most important finding by Mr Nashef and his team was that octogenarians undergoing cardiac surgery had "dramatically better long-term survival than an age and sex-matched UK population". Other studies have shown that 87 to 99 per cent of elderly heart surgery patients were satisfied with their operation and improvement in quality of life.
"We believe this makes a compelling case for offering informed choice about surgery to these patients," the team concluded.
[ Times Online, Aug 18 2005 ]
If you want to live longer, there will be great risks involved. But you must also remember, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. The "informed" choice is always yours.