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Frailty in emergency general surgery: Low-risk procedures pose similar risk as high-risk procedures for frail patients

Published:November 23, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surg.2022.10.002

      Abstract

      Background

      The association of frailty on postoperative outcomes after elective and emergency general surgery procedures has been widely studied. However, this association has not been examined in the geriatric population stratified by emergency general surgery procedural risk.

      Methods

      A retrospective cohort study was performed using the 2012 to 2017 American College of Surgeons-National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. We identified geriatric patients (age ≥65 years) undergoing an emergency general surgery procedure within 48 hours of admission stratified by the procedural risk. Frailty was accessed using Modified 5-item Frailty Index, and the patients were divided into 4 groups Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 0, 1, 2, and ≥3. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the impact of increasing Modified 5-item Frailty Index score on postoperative complications, failure-to-rescue, and readmissions.

      Results

      In the study, 16,911 low risk procedure emergency general surgery patients were grouped as (33.3%) Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 0, (45.1%) Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 1, (18.7%) Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 2, and (2.9%) Modified 5-item Frailty Index ≥3 respectively. After multivariable analyses, increasing Modified 5-item Frailty Index score (versus Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 0) was associated with complications (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]; Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 2: 2.1 [1.3-3.5], Modified 5-item Frailty Index ≥ 3: 2.2 [1.2-4.2]), failure-to-rescue (Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 2: 2.3 [1.3-4.0], Modified 5-item Frailty Index ≥ 3: 2.3 [1.2-4.6]), readmission (Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 2: 1.4 [1.2-1.7], Modified 5-item Frailty Index ≥ 3: 1.5 [1.1-2.1]). In addition, 30,305 high-risk patients undergoing procedure emergency general surgery were grouped as (24.1%) Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 0, (44.9%) Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 1, (24.0%) Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 2, and (7.0%) Modified 5-item Frailty Index ≥3, respectively. After multivariable analyses, increasing Modified 5-item Frailty Index score (versus Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 0) was associated with complications (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]; Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 2: 1.2 [1.2–1.3], Modified 5-item Frailty Index ≥3: 1.7 [1.5–2.0]), failure-to-rescue (Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 2: 1.3 [1.2–1.5], Modified 5-item Frailty Index ≥3: 1.5 [1.3–1.7]), readmission (Modified 5-item Frailty Index = 2: 1.3 [1.2–1.4], Modified 5-item Frailty Index ≥3: 1.6 [1.4–1.9]).

      Conclusion

      Increasing levels of frailty in geriatric emergency general surgery patients are associated with higher levels of postoperative complications, failure-to-rescue, and readmission. Clinicians should consider frailty in assessing the risk of even low-risk surgeries in this population.
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