Abstract

The Rockwood Clinical Frailty Scale is a validated rapid assessment of frailty phenotype and predictor of mortality in the geriatric population. Using data from a large tertiary care burn center, we assessed the association between admission frailty in an elderly burn population and inpatient outcomes. This was a retrospective analysis of burn patients ≥ 65 years from 2015-2019. Patients were assigned to frailty subgroups based on comprehensive medical, social work, and therapy assessments. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate associations between admission frailty and 30-day inpatient mortality. Our study included 644 patients (low frailty: 262, moderate frailty: 345, and high frailty: 37). Frailty was associated with higher median TBSA and age at admission. The 30-day cumulative incidence of mortality was 2.3%, 7.0%, and 24.3% among the low, moderate, and high frailty strata, respectively. After adjustment for age, TBSA, and inhalation injury, high frailty was associated with increased 30-day mortality, compared to low (HR 5.73; 95% CI 1.86, 17.62). Moderate frailty also appeared to increase 30-day mortality, although estimates were imprecise (HR 2.19; 95% CI 0.87-5.50). High frailty was associated with increased morbidity and healthcare utilization, including need for intensive care stay (68% vs 37% and 21%, p<0.001) and rehab or care facility at discharge (41% vs 25% and 6%, p<0.001), compared to moderate and low frailty subgroups. Our findings emphasize the need to consider pre-injury physiological state and the increased risk of death and morbidity in the elderly burn population.

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