From the Journals

Frailty tied to higher mortality after major vascular surgery



Frailty defined as functional dependence is a predictor of mortality risk in elderly patients having major vascular surgery, a meta-analysis of studies has found

“Functional dependency may be recommended for use in rapid screening for frailty in major vascular surgery because of the high quality of associated evidence. Additionally, information on central muscle mass also adds incremental predictive value to long-term survival of elderly patients after major vascular surgery,” the study investigaters stated. However, they pointed out that “other newly developed frailty tools require further validation in more studies” before they should be adopted.

The report, published in the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, evaluated the effect of frailty in major vascular surgery from a search of MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Database, and Scopus through May 2018. Data were extracted from the articles related to surgery for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) and lower extremity artery disease (LEAD), and a modified Newcastle-Ottawa scale was used to assess the quality of the included studies, according to Jiarong Wang, MD, of the department of vascular surgery, Sichuan University, Sichuan Province, China, and colleagues. A total of 22 cohort studies and one randomized controlled trial was used in the final analysis. The reviewers expressed the impact of frailty on outcomes as odds ratios (OR) or hazard ratios (HR) using a random effects model.

The researchers found that frailty, in terms of functional dependence, was associated with a significantly increased 30-day mortality risk in patients with AAA without heterogeneity (OR 5.15) and also in LEAD patients (OR 3.29). Functionally dependent patients also had a significantly increased 30-day mortality risk, compared with independent patients (OR 4.49), and similar results were observed after stratifying those who underwent AAA repair (OR 5.14) or lower extremity revascularization (OR 4.18). Even for patients who underwent endovascular procedures rather than open surgery, functional dependency was also associated with a significantly increased 30-day mortality risk (OR 4.90). In addition, with regard to 30-day morbidity, frailty was associated with a significantly increased risk in both AAA (OR 2.79) and LEAD (OR 1.40) patients.

As far as long-term outcomes were concerned, frailty was associated with a significantly increased risk of long-term all-cause mortality in the overall studied population (HR 2.22), as well as in patients with AAA repair (HR 2.10) and LEAD revascularization (HR 2.46). Dr. Wang and colleagues found that central muscle mass was the only tool with moderate quality of evidence predicting long-term survival after major vascular surgery (HR .48), with other single-domain tools such as nutrition or cognition scoring being of low quality. The modified Frailty Index was the only multi-domain tool with moderate quality in predicting mortality for AAA, while others were scored as low or very low, the authors added.

“Future research is warranted to establish consensus on how to select the optimal frailty tool for certain clinical settings,” they concluded.

The authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest and no funding sources for the study.

SOURCE: Wang, J et al. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2018;56:591-602.

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