Objectives: Frailty and sarcopenia have been related with adverse events, including hospitalization. However, its combined effect with hospitalization-related outcomes, including costs, has not been previously investigated. Our purpose was to explore how frailty, sarcopenia and its interaction could impact on healthcare expenditures.
Methods: 1358 community-dwelling older adults from the Toledo Study of Healthy Ageing (TSHA) were included. Sarcopenia was measured using the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health criteria fitted to our cohort. Frailty was defined according to Frailty Trait Scale 5 (FTS5) and the Frailty Index fitted to the cut-off points of TSHA population. Hospitalization costs were taken from hospital records and costs were attributed according to Diagnostic-Related Groups, using as the cost base year 2015. Two-part regression models were used to analyze the relationship between frailty and sarcopenia and hospital admission, number of hospitalizations, length of stay and hospitalization costs.
Results: Sarcopenia was associated only with the probability of being admitted to hospital. Frailty was also associated with higher hospital use, regardless of the frailty tool used, but in addition increased hospital admission costs at follow-up by 23.72% per year and by 19.73% in the full model compared with non-frail individuals. The presence of sarcopenia did not increase the costs of frailty but, by opposite, frailty significantly increased the costs in people with sarcopenia, reaching by 46-56%/patient/year at follow-up. Older adults with frailty and sarcopenia had a higher risk of hospitalization, disregarding the tool used to assess frailty, and higher hospitalization costs (FTS5) in the full model, at the cross-sectional and at the follow-up level.
Conclusions: Frailty is associated with increased hospitalization costs and accounts for the potential effects of sarcopenia.
Keywords: Ageing; Frailty; Healthcare costs; Hospital admission; Sarcopenia.
© 2022. The Author(s).