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Developing and validating a risk prediction model for acute care based on frailty syndromes

21 Oct 2015


Population ageing may result in increased comorbidity, functional dependence and poor quality of life. Mechanisms and pathophysiology underlying frailty have not been fully elucidated, thus absolute consensus on an operational definition for frailty is lacking. Frailty scores in the acute medical care setting have poor predictive power for clinically relevant outcomes. We explore the utility of frailty syndromes (as recommended by national guidelines) as a risk prediction model for the elderly in the acute care setting.


English Secondary Care emergency admissions to National Health Service (NHS) acute providers.


There were N=2 099 252 patients over 65 years with emergency admission to NHS acute providers from 01/01/2012 to 31/12/2012 included in the analysis.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

Outcomes investigated include inpatient mortality, 30-day emergency readmission and institutionalisation. We used pseudorandom numbers to split patients into train (60%) and test (40%). Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves and ordering the patients by deciles of predicted risk was used to assess model performance. Using English Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data, we built multivariable logistic regression models with independent variables based on frailty syndromes (10th revision International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death (ICD-10) coding), demographics and previous hospital utilisation. Patients included were those >65 years with emergency admission to acute provider in England (2012).


Frailty syndrome models exhibited ROC scores of 0.624–0.659 for inpatient mortality, 0.63–0.654 for institutionalisation and 0.57–0.63 for 30-day emergency readmission.


Frailty syndromes are a valid predictor of outcomes relevant to acute care. The models predictive power is in keeping with other scores in the literature, but is a simple, clinically relevant and potentially more acceptable measurement for use in the acute care setting. Predictive powers of the score are not sufficient for clinical use.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open