The impact of frailty in critically ill patients after trauma: A prospective observational study

Claire J. Tipping, Emily Bilish, Meg Harrold, Anne E. Holland, Terry Chan, Carol L. Hodgson

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: As our population ages, older adults are increasingly exposed to trauma. Frailty could be a useful measure to identify patients at risk of a poor outcome. This study aimed to determine the impact of frailty in an Australian trauma intensive care unit (ICU) population. Methods: A prospective observational study of critically ill trauma patients ≥50 years of age. Frailty was determined on admission to the ICU using the frailty phenotype. Demographic and hospital data were collected, and patients were followed up at 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome was 12-month mortality, and multiple regression was used to determine associated factors. Results: One hundred thirty-eight patients were included, whose mean age was 68 years; 78.2% (108/138) were classified as major trauma (Injury Severity Score >12). Twenty-two percent (30/138) of patients were identified as frail. Patients with frailty were significantly older: however, they were less severely injured and required lower rates of surgical interventions and mechanical ventilation. Frailty was independently associated with mortality at 6 and 12 months (odds ratio: 5.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.9–18.1 and odds ratio: 7.3, 95% confidence interval: 2.5–21.9, respectively). Patients with frailty had lower measures of global functioning (Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended frail 3 [1–5] vs nonfrail 6 [(5–7], p = 0.002) and health status (Euro Qol 5Q-5D-5L utility score 0.6 [0.5–0.7] vs 0.7 [0.6–0.9], p = 0.02) at 12 months than patients without frailty. Conclusion: Frailty is a useful predictor of poor outcomes in critically ill trauma patients. Registration of protocol number: ACTRN12615000039583.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Critical illness
  • Frailty
  • Intensive care unit
  • Trauma

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