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The electronic Frailty Index (eFI) and the Hospital Frailty Risk Score (HFRS) have been developed in primary and secondary care respectively.
Objectives and Approach
Our objective was to investigate how frailty progresses over time, and to include the progression of frailty in a survival analysis.
To do this, we performed a retrospective cohort study using linked data from the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Databank, comprising 445,771 people aged 65-95 living in Wales (United Kingdom) on 1st January 2010. We calculated frailty, using both the eFI and HFRS, for individuals at quarterly intervals for 8 years with a total of 11,702,242 observations.
We created a transition matrix for frailty states determined by the eFI (states: fit, mild, moderate, severe) and HFRS (states: no score, low, intermediate, high), with death as an absorbing state. The matrix revealed that frailty progressed over time, but that on a quarterly basis it was most likely that an individual remained in the same state.
We calculated Hazard Ratios (HRs) using time dependent Cox models for mortality, with adjustments for age, gender and deprivation. Independent eFI and HFRS models showed increased risk of mortality as frailty severity increased. A combined eFI and HFRS revealed the highest risk was primarily determined by the HFRS and revealed further subgroups of individuals at increased risk of an adverse outcome. For example, the HRs (95% Confidence Interval) for individuals with an eFI as fit, mild, moderate and severe with a high HFRS were 18.11 [17.25,19.02], 20.58 [19.93,21.24], 21.45 [20.85,22.07] and 23.04 [22.34,23.76] respectively with eFI fit and no HFRS score as the reference category.
Frailty was found to vary over time, with progression likely in the 8-year time-frame analysed. We refined HR estimates of the eFI and HFRS for mortality by including time dependent covariates.
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