The Clinical Frailty Scale as a triage tool for ICU admission of dialysis patients with COVID-19: an ERACODA analysis

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2022 Oct 19;37(11):2264-2274. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfac246.


Background: Several guidelines recommend using the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) for triage of critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. This study evaluates the impact of CFS on intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate and hospital and ICU mortality rates in hospitalized dialysis patients with COVID-19.

Methods: We analysed data of dialysis patients diagnosed with COVID-19 from the European Renal Association COVID-19 Database. The primary outcome was ICU admission rate and secondary outcomes were hospital and ICU mortality until 3 months after COVID-19 diagnosis. Cox regression analyses were performed to assess associations between CFS and outcomes.

Results: A total of 1501 dialysis patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19, of whom 219 (15%) were admitted to an ICU. The ICU admission rate was lowest (5%) in patients >75 years of age with a CFS of 7-9 and highest (27%) in patients 65-75 years of age with a CFS of 5. A CFS of 7-9 was associated with a lower ICU admission rate than a CFS of 1-3 [relative risk 0.49 (95% confidence interval 0.27-0.87)]. Overall, mortality at 3 months was 34% in hospitalized patients, 65% in ICU-admitted patients and highest in patients >75 years of age with a CFS of 7-9 (69%). Only 9% of patients with a CFS ≥6 survived after ICU admission. After adjustment for age and sex, each CFS category ≥4 was associated with higher hospital and ICU mortality compared with a CFS of 1-3.

Conclusions: Frail dialysis patients with COVID-19 were less frequently admitted to the ICU. Large differences in mortality rates between fit and frail patients suggest that the CFS may be a useful complementary triage tool for ICU admission in dialysis patients with COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; dialysis; frailty; intensive care units; mortality; triage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • Frailty* / diagnosis
  • Frailty* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Triage