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Editor's e-Note
According to researchers from Baylor Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, frailty is associated with numerous postoperative complications. In a study of 14,350 adults undergoing elective procedures at one health care system, postoperative outcomes were worse in those with three or more frailty criteria as determined by the Modified Johns Hopkins Frailty score, resulting in longer hospital stays and greater odds of readmission. The researchers highlight the importance of preparing patients to improve their health prior to surgery.

In addition to reading our e-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and Twitter, too.

— Kate Jackson, editor
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Study Explores the Impact of Frailty as a Surgical Risk

Frailty, a decline in function and resistance to short-term stress that typically occurs in elders, is linked to more complications after an operation among adults of all ages, according to researchers of a large study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The researchers suggest that a brief measure of frailty can help determine a patient’s physical fitness for a nonurgent operation.

Among 14,530 adults undergoing various elective operations in a single health care system, those who demonstrated three or more frailty criteria were significantly more likely in the first postoperative month to experience worse results compared with patients without frailty criteria. Specifically, more frail patients had higher rates of major illness or complications, discharge from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility, readmission to the hospital, or death, researchers reported.

“Frailty is identified as an important risk factor affecting surgical outcomes in elderly patients and more recently also in younger patients, even people as young as 40,” says the study’s lead investigator Claire L. Isbell, MD, MSCI, FACS, a general surgeon at Baylor Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas. “With the national obesity epidemic, comorbidities typically seen later in life are increasingly prevalent in younger people.”

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Surgical Risks for the Frail Elderly
Another study also points to the hazards of surgery for frail older adults, reports The New York Times. Research recently published in JAMA Surgery found that even following minor surgery, older adults have a more difficult time than younger patients bouncing back. They’re less likely to return to independent living and suffer more from loss of strength and mobility. Further, they’re more likely to die following these procedures than are younger patients. Surgeons, the researchers indicate, must better assess older individuals and prepare them for surgery. In addition, it’s crucial that they apprise patients and caregivers of the special risks.

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While children may go unscathed by the coronavirus, the virus is particularly deadly for older adults, according to the Washington Post. In China, 21.9% of patients older than 80 have succumbed to it. Discovering why children tend to be spared may lead to better understanding of how the virus devastates an older population.

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Reiki, an ancient energy therapy that’s increasingly offered in hospitals, appears to benefit patients in numerous ways, though it’s not clear why or how. While many providers are skeptical, researchers suggest that the complementary therapy is inexpensive, risk-free, and well-received by patients, according to The Atlantic.

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