Edmonton frailty scale score predicts postoperative delirium: a retrospective cohort analysis

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Background: Frailty has been associated with postoperative delirium (POD). Studies suggest that the Fried phenotype has a stronger association with POD than the Edmonton Frailty Scale (EFS) criteria. Although phenotypic frailty is recognized as a good predictor of delirium, the EFS has higher ratings for feasibility in the surgical setting. Thus, our aim was to determine the association between EFS-assessed vulnerability and POD in an elective surgical population of older adults. A secondary aim was to determine which domains assessed by the EFS were closely associated with POD. Methods: After IRB approval was received, electronic medical records of surgical patients at our institution were downloaded from 12/1/2018 to 3/1/2020. Inclusion criteria included age ≥ 65 years, preoperative EFS assessment within 6 months of surgery, elective surgery not scheduled for intensive care unit (ICU) stay but followed by at least 1 day postoperative stay, and at least two in-hospital evaluations with the 4 A’s test (arousal, attention, abbreviated mental test-4, acute change [4AT]) on the surgical ward. Vulnerability was determined by EFS score ≥ 6. Patients were stratified into two groups according to highest postoperative 4AT score: 0–3 (no POD) and ≥ 4 (POD). Odds of POD associated with EFS score ≥ 6 were evaluated by using logistic regression adjusted for potential confounders. Results: The dataset included 324 patients. Vulnerability was associated with higher incidence of POD (p = 0.0007, Fisher’s exact). EFS ≥6 was consistently associated with POD in all bivariate models. Vulnerability predicted POD in multivariable modeling (OR = 3.5, 95% CI 1.1 to 11.5). Multivariable analysis of EFS domains revealed an overall trend in which higher scores per domain had a higher odds for POD. The strongest association occurred with presence of incontinence (OR = 3.8, 95% CI 1.2 to 11.0). Conclusions: EFS criteria for vulnerability predict POD in older, non-ICU patients undergoing elective surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number585
JournalBMC geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Complications
  • Delirium
  • Elective surgical procedures
  • Frailty
  • Postoperative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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