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Frailty and Mortality in Dialysis: Evaluation of a Clinical Frailty Scale

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Alfaadhel TA1, Soroka SD1, Kiberd BA1, Landry D1, Moorhouse P2, Tennankore KK3.



Frailty is associated with poor outcomes for patients on dialysis; however, previous studies have not taken into account the severity of frailty as a predictor of outcomes. The purpose of this study was to assess if there was an association between the degree of frailty and mortality among patients on incident dialysis.


A cohort study of incident chronic dialysis patients was conducted between January of 2009 and June of 2013 (last follow-up in December of 2013). On the basis of overall clinical impression, the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) score was determined for patients at the start of dialysis by their primary nephrologist. This simple scale allocates a single point to different states of frailty (1, very fit; 2, well; 3, managing well; 4, vulnerable; 5, mildly frail; 6, moderately frail; 7, severely frail or terminally ill) with an emphasis on function of the assessed individual. The primary outcome was time to death. Patients were censored at the time of transplantation.


The cohort consisted of 390 patients with completed CFS scores (mean age of 63±15 years old). Most were Caucasian (89%) and men (67%), and 30% of patients had ESRD caused by diabetic nephropathy. The median Charlson Comorbidity Index score was 4 (interquartile range =3-6), and the median CFS score was 4 (interquartile range =2-5). There were 96 deaths over 750 patient-years at risk. In an adjusted Cox survival analysis, the hazard ratio associated with each 1-point increase in the CFS was 1.22 (95% confidence interval, 1.04 to 1.43; P=0.02).


A higher severity of frailty (as defined by the CFS) at dialysis initiation is associated with higher mortality.

Resource: Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2015 May 7;10(5):832-40.