J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2020 Jul;21(7):928-932.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.06.008. Epub 2020 Jun 9.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the association between frailty and short-term mortality in older adults hospitalized for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
DESIGN: Retrospective single-center observational study.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-one patients with COVID-19 confirmed by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), at the Geriatrics department of a general hospital in Belgium.
MEASUREMENTS: Frailty was graded according to the Rockwood Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS). Demographic, biochemical, and radiologic variables, comorbidities, symptoms, and treatment were extracted from electronic medical records.
RESULTS: Participants (N = 48 women, 59%) had a median age of 85 years (range 65-97 years) and a median CFS score of 7 (range 2-9); 42 (52%) were long-term care residents. Within 6 weeks, 18 patients died. Mortality was significantly but weakly associated with age (Spearman r = 0.241, P = .03) and CFS score (r = 0.282, P = .011), baseline lactate dehydrogenase (LDH; r = 0.301, P = .009), lymphocyte count (r = -0.262, P = .02), and RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct, r = -0.285, P = .015). Mortality was not associated with long-term care residence, dementia, delirium, or polypharmacy. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, CFS, LDH, and RT-PCR Ct (but not age) remained independently associated with mortality. Both age and frailty had poor specificity to predict survival. A multivariable model combining age, CFS, LDH, and viral load significantly predicted survival.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Although their prognosis is worse, even the oldest and most severely frail patients may benefit from hospitalization for COVID-19, if sufficient resources are available.