Frailty is often thought to be a syndrome of the elderly, which comes as a natural and inevitable side-effect of aging.
For clinicians, frailty is a concept which has long posed formidable challenges in perioperative medicine. For patients, frailty turns even the most routine operative procedures into complicated life or death undertakings.
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute examined the prevalence of frailty and its association with long-term mortality in patients undergoing cardiac surgery at a younger age.
Researchers examined administrative healthcare data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science (ICES) and the clinical registry data from Corhealth Ontario to support their findings.
The adjusted long-term frailty-related mortality risk was inversely proportional to age, meaning after taking other comorbidities into consideration, frailty had a higher impact on the survival of younger patients.
According to the study, frailty contributed to greater differences in the survival of patients between 40 and 74 years of age and smaller differences in the long-term survival of those 85 years or older.
"What the science is telling us is that frailty poses a higher risk of mortality in younger patients and has a lower impact on older ones," said study's principal investigator, Dr. Louise Sun.
Effective preoperative optimization programs such as cardiac rehabilitation, nutritional augmentation, and psychosocial support may improve outcomes especially in younger patients," she added.
The full findings are present in the JAHA: Journal of the American Heart Association, perioperative medicine