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Association of frailty with days alive at home after cardiac surgery: a population-based cohort study


Background — Frailty is a geriatric syndrome that leaves people vulnerable to adverse outcomes. In cardiac surgery, minimal data describe associations between frailty and patient-centred outcomes. Our objective was to estimate the association between frailty and days alive at home after cardiac surgery.

Methods — We conducted a population-based cohort study using linked health administrative data in the Canadian province of Ontario. All individuals >65 yr at the time of cardiac surgery were assigned a frailty score using a validated frailty index. Days alive and at home in the 30 and 365 days after surgery were calculated. The unadjusted and adjusted associations between frailty and days alive at home were calculated.

Results — We identified 61 389 patients from 2009 to 2015. Frailty was associated with reduced days at home within 30 days (adjusted ratio of means for every 10% increase in frailty=0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78-0.81; P<0.0001) and 365 days (adjusted ratio of means for every 10% increase in frailty=0.92; 95% CI, 0.91-0.93; P<0.0001) of surgery. Results were consistent in sensitivity analyses (5.0 fewer days alive at home [95% CI, 4.8-5.2] within 30 days and 9.0 fewer days alive at home [95% CI, 8.7-9.2] within 365 days after surgery).

Conclusion — Frailty is associated with a reduction in days alive at home after major cardiac surgery. This information should be considered in prognostic discussions before surgery and in care planning for vulnerable older patient groups. Days alive at home may be a useful outcome for routine measurement in quality, reporting, and studies using routinely collected data.



McIsaac DI, Fottinger A, Sucha E, McDonald B. Br J Anaesth. 2021; 126(6):1103-10. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

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