ELF findings call for frailty scoring to become standard practice

Important findings from the BDRF-funded Emergency Laparotomy and Frailty Study (ELF Study) have been published in the Annals of Surgery.

The analysis of data on almost 1,000 adults over 65 demonstrated that the risk of dying within 90 days of emergency surgery was directly increased by the presence of frailty. Frailty also made it more likely a patient would have serious complications, spend longer in Intensive Care and in hospital overall.

Even when adjusted for age, frailty was shown to be an independent risk factor – showing the need for specific guidelines to provide better care for people categorised as frail.

Caring for older patients needing emergency surgery is a major & growing challenge for surgeons working in the NHS and around the world. ELF has now demonstrated that a 5th of all patients over the age of 65 are categorised as frail, but no specific plan is in place to address the increased risk these people are exposed to.

These findings are a vital piece of evidence as we work to improve care for the most vulnerable people.

We are extremely proud that once again BDRF-funded research is making a difference to how patients should be treated. But the work is only just beginning, and we will need to see a lot more research done to ensure ELF’s recommendations are taken up into standard practice across the NHS. Watch this space!

Read next article: New research aims to improve care for elderly people

Parmar, Kat L. BSc, MB ChB, MSc, PGCE, FRCSEng*; Law, Jennifer BMBS, BMedSci, MSc; Carter, Ben PhD, MSc; Hewitt, Jonathan MB BS, MSc, FRCPGlas, PhD§; Boyle, Jemma M. MB ChB, PGCE, MRCS; Casey, Patrick MB ChB, MRCS||; Maitra, Ishaan BSc (Hons), MB ChB, MRCS**; Farrell, Ian S. MB ChB, MPharm, MRCS††; Pearce, Lyndsay BMedSci, BMBS, FRCSEng‡‡; Moug, Susan J. BSc (Hons), MB ChB, PhD, FRCS§§ on behalf of the ELF Study Group

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003402