Geriatric Physiology and the Frailty Syndrome

Anesthesiol Clin. 2019 Sep;37(3):453-474. doi: 10.1016/j.anclin.2019.04.006. Epub 2019 Jun 18.


Understanding geriatric physiology is critical for successful perioperative management of older surgical patients. The frailty syndrome is evolving as an important, potentially modifiable process capturing a patient's biologic age and is more predictive of adverse perioperative outcomes than chronologic age. Use of frailty in risk stratification and perioperative decision-making allows providers to effectively diagnose, risk stratify, and treat patients in the perioperative setting. Further study is needed to develop a universal definition of frailty, to identify comprehensive yet feasible screening tools that allow for accurate detection of frailty in the perioperative setting, and to refine treatment programs for frail surgical patients.

Keywords: Aging; Elderly; Frailty; Geriatric; Older adult; Perioperative; Physiology; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advance Directives
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Frail Elderly
  • Frailty / diagnosis
  • Frailty / physiopathology*
  • General Surgery
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans