Central Surgical Association| Volume 160, ISSUE 4, P987-996, October 2016

Frailty predicts risk of life-threatening complications and mortality after pancreatic resections

Published:August 18, 2016DOI:


      To assess the effect of frailty on morbidity and mortality after partial pancreatectomy.


      A retrospective analysis of National Surgical Quality Improvement Project from 2005–2010 was conducted. A modified frailty index was created based on previously validated methodology. Patients were classified as nonfrail, low frailty, intermediate frailty, and frail. Outcomes of pancreatoduodenectomy and distal pancreatectomy were examined.


      In the study, 13,020 patients were analyzed (8,729 pancreatoduodenectomy and 4,291 distal pancreatectomy). Among the pancreatoduodenectomy and distal pancreatectomy patients, frail patients regardless of the degree of frailty were older, more likely male, had a greater body mass index, lower serum albumin, and greater weight loss compared with the nonfrail patients (all P ≤ .05). Postoperatively, a stepwise increased risk of grade 4 complications (Clavien/Dindo) and mortality was noted from nonfrail to frail patients. Every 1-point increase in modified frailty index was associated with a significantly increased risk of grade 4 complications (∼2–6 times) and mortality (∼2–10 times) from low-frail to frail (adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, albumin, weight loss, and type of pancreatectomy). An abbreviated frailty index incorporating 8 variables was as predictive as the modified frailty index (P = .68).


      An 11-point frailty index as measured in National Surgical Quality Improvement Project predicts serious complications and death after pancreatectomy. A modification of this index with 8 factors continues to have similar predictive ability. Consideration of frailty may be beneficial prior to the pancreatic surgeon and particularly in discussion of operative risk and selection of patients who might receive benefit from pre-operative optimization.
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