Retrospective frailty determination in critical illness from a review of the intensive care unit clinical record

Jai N. Darvall, Tristan Boonstra, Jen Norman, Donal Murphy, Michael Bailey, Theodore J. Iwashyna, Sean M. Bagshaw, Rinaldo Bellomo

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Frailty is one of the major challenges for intensive care, affecting one-third of intensive care unit patients and being associated with a range of poor health outcomes. Determination of frailty in critical illness using the Clinical Frailty Scale has recently been adopted by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society, but it is not known whether this is able to be measured from the clinical record without interviewing patients or their relatives. The aims of this retrospective cohort study were to test whether a Clinical Frailty Scale score could be assigned in an intensive care unit population from the clinical record, and to assess the inter-rater reliability of frailty measured in this manner. A total of 144 patients were enrolled. Of these, 137 (95%) were able to have a Clinical Frailty Scale score assigned, and 22 (15%) were scored as frail (Clinical Frailty Scale ≥5). Cohen’s kappa coefficient for inter-rater reliability between assessors was 0.67, confirming substantial agreement. Consistent with other critically ill cohorts, frailty was associated on multivariate analysis with age, Charlson comorbidity score, dependence with activities of daily living, and limitation of medical treatment, indicating validity of this approach to frailty measurement. Our results imply that frailty measurement is possible and feasible from the intensive care unit clinical record, which is of importance as routine measurement and reporting of frailty in intensive care units in our region increases. Future work should seek to validate an assigned Clinical Frailty Scale score with that obtained directly from patients or their next of kin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
JournalAnaesthesia and intensive care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Frailty
  • intensive care
  • mortality
  • outcomes

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