After I had my pericardiectomy, I was visiting with my cardiologist about my mother-in-law, 80, and not able to walk well, etc. with bad knees, about her heart valve that another cardiologist wanted to replace. He said his fear with recommending operation with older patients is not the amount of time on the table, but the ability to heal from the surgery. One of the most important things in my recovery was walking every day, getting the blood flowing, moving oxygen into the lungs, etc. If a person can't do the therapy, they may never recover fully. The lungs are partially collapsed during surgery, and complications can certainly set in if they aren't exercised afterward.
My surgeon had to scrape and "peel" some of the inner lining of my pericardium, he said that as long as it wasn't calcified, it can be cleaned up. There was a Dr. on TV yesterday that said all patients over the age of 80 have to be evaluated on a case by case basis. If this person can do the work to recover from the surgery, the decision should be easier. The bad thing is, when they told me I had to have a pericardiectomy, they called it a life saving operation. It sounds like he may not have a choice. I feel for him, he must be in misery. I hope for the best! Always get a second opinion!