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Predicting Risks of Surgery in Older Adults

A "frailty score" may help doctors predict which older patients are most likely to have serious problems after surgery, a new study says. Researchers developed the scoring system based on a series of questions about people's everyday life and state of health. They tested it on 275 patients, age 65 or older, who were scheduled for surgery. After surgery, 10.5% had at least 1 serious problem (complication). These included blood clots in the lungs, infections, pneumonia and delirium. After hospital discharge, 8.7% needed to spend time in a nursing home. In the year after surgery, 9.1% died. People with higher frailty scores were more likely to die or have complications. They had longer hospital stays. They also were more likely to need nursing home care. Researchers said the frailty score was more accurate than another scale used now to predict surgical risk.

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