This study examined the relationship between dysphagia and adverse outcomes across frailty conditions among surgical patients ≥50 years of age.
A retrospective cohort analysis of surgical hospitalizations in the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s National Inpatient Sample among patients ≥50 years of age undergoing intermediate/high risk surgery not involving the larynx, pharynx, or esophagus.
Of 3,298,835 weighted surgical hospitalizations, dysphagia occurred in 1.2% of all hospitalizations and was higher in frail patients ranging from 5.4% to 11.7%. Dysphagia was associated with greater length of stay, higher total costs, increased non-routine discharges, and increased medical/surgical complications among both frail and non-frail patients.
Dysphagia may be an independent risk factor for poor postoperative outcomes among surgical patients ≥50 years of age across frailty conditions and is an important consideration for providers seeking to reduce risk in vulnerable surgical populations.
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