How a Fraility Test Can Predict Your Surgery Recovery
If you are considering undergoing surgery but are concerned by the possibility of incurring post surgical complications due to age or health, you may benefit from taking a one minute test designed to predict healthy recuperation. Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta have created and conducted a test to find a better, faster way to measure frailty. Frailty is commonly understood as a reduced physiological reserve and a reduced resistance to stressors. High rates of frailty found within patients coincided almost unanimously with postoperative complications.
How Frailty is Tested
According to the study author Viraj Master, MD, PHD, FACS, associate professor of urology and director of clinical research, “Many people would suspect that frailty only applies to someone in their 80’s. It’s startling to think that people in their 30’s and 40’s could actually be frail, but there is a population of patients who are young but are actually frail.” Frailty in this study was based on five determining factors: unintentional weight loss of more then 10 pounds within one year, grip strength, determined by patients ability to squeeze a hand-held dynamometer, level of exhaustion, level of activity and slowed walking speed. Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine concluded that grip strength and involuntary weight loss were best able to assess a patients degree of frailty of the five options.
Testing frailty is important but, up until now, hasn’t been traditionally conducted because it requires a professional and can take about 10 minutes to assess. The One-Minute Frailty Test significantly shortens this period of time and can be administered by anyone who interacts with the patient.
Why This Test is Important
Finding out frailty levels is greatly linked to what occurs once surgery is over. If a patient is deemed frail before undergoing surgery there is a much higher risk of a postoperative complication. Understanding frailty is an important component in prevention. Identifying patients with muscle or extreme weight loss is the first step in treating and preventing frailty. Being aware of your loved one’s health and recognizing these physical changes, especially in conjunction with an impending surgery, could greatly affect how well an individual will recover from surgery.
It is also important to note that up until now, testing frailty was a rather objective matter put upon patients as well as doctors. Age has long been the best predictor in assessing a patient’s healthy recovery following surgery. However, this often leads to elderly patients who are quite strong being denied a surgery that could greatly enhance their life simply because they are deemed “too old.”
In reality, age can be a good marker, but not as precise as frailty. It’s entirely possible for an 80-year-old to be in better shape than a 70-year-old simply due to better diet and exercise routines throughout their lifetimes. Frailty takes age out of the equation and takes a deeper look at each specific individuals internal abilities.
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