Frailty and survival in elderly intensive care patients in Norway

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2021 Sep;65(8):1065-1072. doi: 10.1111/aas.13836. Epub 2021 May 7.


Background: Today, 10%-15% of Norwegian intensive care patients are ≥80 years. This proportion will increase significantly over the next 20 years, but it is unlikely that resources for intensive care increase correspondingly. Thus, it is important to establish which patients among elderly people will benefit from intensive care. The main objective of the study was to investigate the relationships between geriatric scoring tools and 30-day mortality.

Methods: The study included 451 Norwegian patients ≥80 years who were included in two prospective European observation studies (VIP (very old intensive care patient)1 of VIP2). Both studies included clinical frailty scale (CFS) while VIP2 also obtained the geriatric scores, comorbidity and polypharmacy score (CPS), Short Form of Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE), and Katz Activity of Daily Living score (Katz ADL).

Results: Survival after 30 days was 59.9%. Risk factors for 30-day mortality were increasing Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score (odds ratio (OR) 1.30; confidence interval (CI) 95% 1.22-1.39) and (CFS) > 3 (CFS 4: OR 1.96 (CI 95% 1.01-3.81); CFS 5-9: OR 1.81 (CI) 95% 1.12-2.93)). Data from VIP2 showed that CFS was the only independent predictor of 30-day mortality when these scores were tested in multivariate analyses separately together with age, SOFA, and gender (OR 1.21 (95% CI 1.03-1.41)).

Conclusions: Elderly intensive care patients had a 30-day survival rate of 59.9%. Factors strongly associated with 30-day mortality were increasing SOFA score and increasing frailty (CFS). Other geriatric scores had no significant association with survival in multivariate analyses.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Critical Care
  • Frailty*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Prospective Studies