Surgical Safety and Frailty

by | Mar 23, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

When I was a practicing surgeon, there was a mystery. An 80-year-old patient does well after surgery but a 60-year-old doesn’t…. why is that? One of the answers is frailty

Frailty is not merely aging or losing weight -it’s a defined medical condition. The official definition is:

Frailty is a, chronic state of dysregulation of multiple physiological systems, such that homeostasis is impaired and vulnerability is heightened for adverse health outcome.

Our test: -took about 5 minutes

  1. Basic ADL (Activities of daily living-e.g. showering, brushing teeth etc.)
  2. Depression screen (using a t 2- item test called the PHQ)
  3. Exhaustion (are you unable to do things that you were able to a month ago)
  4. Weight loss-unintentional.

5..  Walking speed- (Walking 15 feet in: ≤7 sec for height ≤ 5 ft. or ≤6 sec for height >5 ft.)

  1. Cognitive function (Remember 3 unrelated words)


We found was 2 things-patients who tested positive for frailty. They had  1.Longer Length of stay in the hospital; 2. Increased readmissions back to the hospital.

Of the six items, patients scoring poorly on their cognitive assessment or a slow walking speed had the worst outcome


What can you do to identify frailty?

Do you have three out of the five following: Then you can identify yourself as being frail: unintentional weight loss; feelings of exhaustionweakness; slow walking speed and low levels of physical activity.

What can you do?

Do cognitive exercises. (examples: free apps, crossword puzzles, Sudoku)

Try to stay active every day and eat well

Do you want to understand your health condition?


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