Development of a modified frailty index for adult spinal deformities independent of functional changes following surgical correction: a true baseline risk assessment tool

Spine Deform. 2024 May;12(3):811-817. doi: 10.1007/s43390-023-00808-5. Epub 2024 Feb 2.


Purpose: To develop a simplified, modified frailty index for adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients dependent on objective clinical factors.

Methods: ASD patients with baseline (BL) and 2-year (2Y) follow-up were included. Factors with the largest R2 value derived from multivariate forward stepwise regression were including in the modified ASD-FI (clin-ASD-FI). Factors included in the clin-ASD-FI were regressed against mortality, extended length of hospital stay (LOS, > 8 days), revisions, major complications and weights for the clin-ASD-FI were calculated via Beta/Sullivan. Total clin-ASD-FI score was created with a score from 0 to 1. Linear regression correlated clin-ASD-FI with ASD-FI scores and published cutoffs for the ASD-FI were used to create the new frailty cutoffs: not frail (NF: < 0.11), frail (F: 0.11-0.21) and severely frail (SF: > 0.21). Binary logistic regression assessed odds of complication or reop for frail patients.

Results: Five hundred thirty-one ASD patients (59.5 yrs, 79.5% F) were included. The final model had a R2 of 0.681, and significant factors were: < 18.5 or > 30 BMI (weight: 0.0625 out of 1), cardiac disease (0.125), disability employment status (0.3125), diabetes mellitus (0.0625), hypertension (0.0625), osteoporosis (0.125), blood clot (0.1875), and bowel incontinence (0.0625). These factors calculated the score from 0 to 1, with a mean cohort score of 0.13 ± 0.14. Breakdown by clin-ASD-FI score: 51.8% NF, 28.1% F, 20.2% SF. Increasing frailty severity was associated with longer LOS (NF: 7.0, F: 8.3, SF: 9.2 days; P < 0.001). Frailty independently predicted occurrence of any complication (OR: 9.357 [2.20-39.76], P = 0.002) and reop (OR: 2.79 [0.662-11.72], P = 0.162).

Conclusions: Utilizing an existing ASD frailty index, we proposed a modified version eliminating the patient-reported components. This index is a true assessment of physiologic status, and represents a superior risk factor assessment compared to other tools for both primary and revision spinal deformity surgery as a result of its immutability with surgery, lack of subjectivity, and ease of use.

Keywords: Adult spinal deformity; Chronologic age; Frailty; Health-related quality of life; Physiologic age; Regression analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Frailty* / complications
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Spinal Curvatures / surgery