Postoperative Recovery in Frail, Pre-frail, and Non-frail Elderly Patients Following Abdominal Surgery
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The objective of this study is to explore the association between frailty and surgical recovery over a 6-month period, in elderly patients undergoing elective abdominal surgery.
A total of 144 patients were categorized as frail, pre-frail, and non-frail based on five criteria: weight loss, exhaustion, weakness, slowness, and low activity. Recovery to preoperative functional status (activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL)), cognition, quality of life, and mental health was assessed at 1, 3, and 6 months postoperatively. A repeated measure logistic regression was used to analyze the effect of frailty on recovery over time. The effect of frailty on hospitalization outcomes was also evaluated.
Mean age was 78 ± 5 years with 17.4% of patients categorized as frail, 60.4% pre-frail, and 22.2% non-frail. At 6 months, the percent of patients who had recovered to preoperative values were: ADL 90%; IADL 76%; cognition 75.5%; mental health 66%; and quality of life 70%. While more frail patients experienced adverse hospitalization outcomes and fewer had recovered to preoperative functional status, these differences were not found to be statistically significant. Overall, frailty status was not significantly associated with the trajectory of recovery or hospitalization outcomes.
Strong, institutional commitment to quality surgical care, as well as appropriate strategies for older patients, may have mitigated the impact of frailty on recovery. Further research is needed to examine the role of frailty in the surgical recovery process.
This project was supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and St. Mary’s Hospital Center.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Ms. Sikder, Dr. Maimon, Ms. Sourial, Dr. Tahiri, Ms. Teasdale, Dr. H. Bergman, Dr. S. Bergman, and Dr. Demyttenaere have no conflicts of interest or financial relationships to disclose. Dr. Fraser is a preceptor for Covidien and Bard Canada.
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