Patient Care

Association of Frailty on One-Year Postoperative Mortality Following Major Elective Non-Cardiac Surgery


Clinical question: What is the association of preoperative frailty on one-year postoperative mortality?

Background: Frailty is an aggregate expression of susceptibility to poor outcomes owing to age and disease-related deficits that accumulate with multiple domains. Frailty in this study was defined by the Johns Hopkins Adjusted Clinical Groups (ACG) frailty-defining diagnoses indicator. It is a binary variable that uses 12 clusters of frailty-defining diagnoses.

Study design: Population-based retrospective cohort study.

Setting: All hospital and physician services funded through the public health care system in Toronto.

Synopsis: The study had 202,980 patients who underwent major elective non-cardiac surgery. Frailty-defining diagnoses were present in 6,289 patients (3.1%). Mean age for the frail population was about 77 years. Joint replacements were the most common procedures for the frail and non-frail groups. Knee replacements were more prevalent in the non-frail group. One year after surgery, 855 frail patients (13.6%) and 9,433 non-frail patients (4.8%) died (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2.98; 95% CI, 2.78–3.20). When adjusted for age, sex, neighborhood income quintile, and procedure, one-year mortality risk remained significantly higher in the frail group. One-year risk of death was significantly higher in frail patients for all surgical procedures, especially with total joint arthroplasty.

The relative hazard ratio of mortality in frail versus non-frail was extremely high in the early postoperative period, most notably at postoperative day three.

One major weakness of the study is that there is no universal definition of frailty, plus the results are difficult to generalize across populations.

Bottom line: Presence of preoperative frailty-defining diagnoses is associated with increased risk for one-year postoperative mortality; the risk appears to be very high in the early postoperative period.

Citation: McIsaac D, Bryson G, van Walraven C. Association of frailty and 1-year postoperative mortality following major elective noncardiac surgery: a population-based cohort study [published online ahead of print January 20, 2016]. JAMA Surg. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.5085.

Short Take

Early Discharge Associated with Longer Length of Stay

Retrospective analysis showed early discharge before noon was associated with longer length of stay, especially among emergent admissions. However, multiple metrics should be used to measure true effectiveness of an early discharge program.

Citation: Rajkomar A, Valencia V, Novelero M, Mourad M, Auerbach A. The association between discharge before noon and length of stay in medical and surgical patients [published online ahead of print December 30, 2015]. J Hosp Med. doi:10.1002/jhm.2529.

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