Preoperative Frailty and Quality of Life as Predictors of Postoperative Complications

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Background:Prediction of postoperative complications has been based on assessing comorbidities. However, the evaluation of these comorbidities has not consistently identified those at higher risk of complications, primarily due to the inability to assess how these comorbidities affect functional status. We hypothesized that preoperative functional measures of patients' health status can predict postoperative complications.Methods:A sample of patients undergoing general surgical operations were reviewed for age, gender, diagnosis (for severity), operations (for complexity), number of comorbidities, preoperative frailty (as determined by the Canadian Study of Health and Ageing Frailty Index), preoperative quality of life (as determined by the SF-36), occurrence of postoperative complications, number of postoperative complications, and severity of complications. Data were analyzed by linear and multiple logistic regression analyses, and the Mann-Whitney U test.Results:Two hundred and twenty-six patients were evaluated, average age 61 ± 13 years, 47% male patients. Frailty Index (FI) correlated with number of comorbidities (r = 0.61, P < 0.001), and all of the domains of the SF-36. Patients who had postoperative complications had higher median preoperative FI than those would did not [0.075 (IQR 0.046–0.118) vs. 0.059 (IQR 0.045–0.089), P = 0.007]. Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that operation complexity, FI, and the role-emotional domain were associated with and increased risk of postoperative complications, whereas the bodily pain domain was associated with a lower risk of postoperative complications.Conclusions:This study demonstrates that preoperative functional status as measured by FI and SF-36 may help identify patients at higher risk of postoperative complications. In our ageing population, use of such measures may help in better patient selection.

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