Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh found that taking into account the “fragility” of an elderly patient can reduce the risk of death after surgery. The study is published in the journal JAMA Surgery .
Although age can be an important indicator of the likelihood of complications after surgery, it does not give a complete picture of the health status of patients. The researchers hypothesized that a patient’s overall well-being, including their physical and cognitive abilities, may better reflect their body’s ability to recover from surgery.
The study involved more than 50,000 patients who had to undergo major surgery. Prior to meeting with their surgeons, patients completed a short questionnaire to assess fragility. 1300 patients were more weakened. With them, the surgeons had an additional conversation about the possible risks of the operation, and they were also more often referred to centers for pre- and post-operative care.
These measures reduced the risk of death of patients by 18%. Survival was assessed one year after surgery.
The scientists noted that further research is needed to determine which interventions have the greatest impact on patient outcomes.