To assess the prevalence of frailty, a status of vulnerability to stressors leading to adverse health events, in bladder cancer patients undergoing radical cystectomy (RC), and test the impact of frailty measurements on postoperative adverse outcomes.
A systematic review of English-language articles published up to April 2020 was performed. Electronic databases were searched to quantify the frailty prevalence in RC patients and assess the predictive ability of frailty indexes on RC-related outcomes as postoperative complications, early mortality, hospitalization length (LOS), costs, discharge dispositions, readmission rate.
Eleven studies were selected. Patients’ frailty was identified by Johns Hopkins indicator (JHI) in two studies, 11-item modified Frailty Index (mFI) in four, 5-item simplified FI (sFI) in three, 15-point mFI in one, Fried Frailty Criteria in one. Considering all the frailty measurements applied, 8% and 31% of patients were frail or pre-frail, respectively. Frail (43%) and pre-frail patients (35%) were more at risk of major complications compared to non-frail (27%) using sFI; with JHI the percentages of frail and non-frail were 53% versus 19%. According to JHI and mFI frailty was related to longer LOS and higher costs. JHI identified that 3% of frail patients experience in-hospital mortality versus 1.5% of non-frail. Finally, using sFI, frail (28%), and pre-frail (19%) were more likely to be discharged non-home compared to non-frail patients (8%) and had a higher risk of 30-day mortality (4% and 2% versus 1%).
Almost half of RC patients were frail or pre-frail, conditions significantly related to an increased risk of postoperative adverse events with higher rates of major complications and early mortality. The most-used frailty index was mFI, while JHI and sFI resulted the most reliable to predict early postoperative RC-related adverse outcomes and should be routinely included in clinical practice after better standardization throughout prospective comparative studies.
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