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.
|Contact: Stephanie Desmon|
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions