Elderly trauma patients have outcomes worse than those of similarly injured younger patients. Although patient age and comorbidities explain some of the difference, the contribution of frailty to outcomes is largely unknown because of the lack of assessment tools developed specifically to assess frailty in the trauma population. This systematic review of the surgical literature identifies currently available frailty clinical assessment tools and evaluates the potential of each instrument to assess frailty in elderly patients with trauma.
This review was registered with PROSPERO (the international prospective register of systematic reviews, registration number CRD42014015350). Publications in English from January 1995 to October 2014 were identified by a comprehensive search strategy in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL, supplemented by manual screening of article bibliographies and subjected to three tiers of review. Forty-two studies reporting on frailty assessment tools were selected for analysis. Criteria for objectivity, feasibility in the trauma setting, and utility to predict trauma outcomes were formulated and used to evaluate the tools, including their subscales and individual items.
Thirty-two unique frailty assessment tools were identified. Of those, 4 tools as a whole, 2 subscales, and 29 individual items qualified as objective, feasible, and useful in the clinical assessment of trauma patients. The single existing tool developed specifically to assess frailty in trauma did not meet evaluation criteria.
Few frailty assessment tools in the surgical literature qualify as objective, feasible, and useful measures of frailty in the trauma population. However, a number of individual tool items and subscales could be combined to assess frailty in the trauma setting. Research to determine the accuracy of these measures and the magnitude of the contribution of frailty to trauma outcomes is needed.
Systematic review, level III.
Supplemental digital content is available in the text.
From the Trauma Service, Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, California.
Submitted: July 14, 2015, Revised: January 12, 2016, Accepted: January 20, 2016, Published online: February 13, 2016.
Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text, and links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the journal’s Web site (www.jtrauma.com).
Address for reprints: Victoria S. McDonald, MD, Trauma Service (MER62), Scripps Mercy Hospital, 4077 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103; email: Vickie.email@example.com.