Frailty is a syndrome of cumulative decline across multiple physiological systems, which predisposes vulnerable adults to adverse events. Assessing vulnerable patients can potentially lead to interventions that improve surgical outcomes. Anaesthesiologists who care for older patients can identify frailty to improve preoperative risk stratification and subsequent perioperative planning. Numerous clinical tools to diagnose frailty exist, but none has emerged as the standard tool to be used in clinical practice. Radiological modalities, such as computed tomography and ultrasonography, are widely performed before surgery, and are therefore available to be used opportunistically to objectively evaluate surrogate markers of frailty. This review presents the importance of frailty assessment by anaesthesiologists; lists common clinical tools that have been applied; and proposes that utilising radiological imaging as an objective surrogate measure of frailty is a novel, expanding approach for which anaesthesiologists can significantly contribute to broad implementation.
Keywords: diagnostic imaging; frailty; perioperative medicine; preoperative assessment; risk assessment; sarcopenia.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.