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Age, Frailty Independently Linked to COVID-19 Mortality

THURSDAY, Feb. 18, 2021 -- For adults hospitalized with COVID-19, age and frailty are independently associated with inpatient mortality and with higher care needs on discharge, according to a study published online Feb. 5 in Age and Ageing.

Carly Welch, M.B.Ch.B., from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a multicenter cohort study involving patients aged 18 years and older hospitalized with COVID-19. The impact of age, frailty, and delirium were examined on the risk for inpatient mortality. Data were included from 5,711 patients from 55 hospitals in 12 countries.

The researchers observed an independent association between an increased risk for death and increasing age (>80 versus 18 to 49 years: hazard ratio, 3.57), frailty (Clinical Frailty Score [CFS] 8 versus 1 to 3: hazard ratio, 3.03), inflammation, renal disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer; no association was seen for delirium. An increased risk for higher care needs on discharge was seen in association with age, frailty (CFS 7 versus 1 to 3: odds ratio, 7.00), delirium, dementia, and mental health diagnoses. There was an increased likelihood of adverse outcomes across all grades of CFS from 4 to 9.

"We hope that this research will help to enable increased understanding of frailty as occurring separately to age and that frailty can be considered alongside age in policies both in and outside of hospital," a coauthor said in a statement.

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