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Level of frailty predicts surgical outcomes in older patients, Johns Hopkins researchers find
Date:5/12/2010

long known that some patients over age 65 do quite well after major surgery even though they appear feeble at the outset, while others who seem to be healthier before an operation emerge diminished. Predictive formulas based on cardiac health and medical history failed to stack up well against the new frailty score, the researchers found.

Makary says frailty is a relatively new clinical concept and is best defined as someone's physical reserve and ability to withstand stress to the body. Many patients considered medically healthy can be frail.

Approximately half of all operations in the United States are performed in patients over 65.

"Some surgeries are absolutely required no matter the risks and other surgeries are elective," Makary says. "A good frailty test can help patients and surgeons make more informed decisions."

At a minimum, providers who use the frailty score will be alerted to special needs and risks of older patients, he says. But having the information up front, he says, may enable providers to decrease the risk of complications in frail patients through closer monitoring and attention to hydration, nutrition and mobilization.

The research also found that using the frailty score strengthened the predictive ability of other commonly used risk assessment models for surgical patients.


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Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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