Impact of frailty on surgery for glioblastoma: a critical evaluation of patient outcomes and caregivers’ perceptions in a developing country

Neurosurg Focus. 2020 Oct;49(4):E14. doi: 10.3171/2020.7.FOCUS20482.


OBJECTIVE: The authors aimed to evaluate the impact of age and frailty on the surgical outcomes of patients with glioblastoma (GBM) and to assess caregivers' perceptions regarding postdischarge care and challenges faced in the developing country of India.

METHODS: This was a retrospective study of patients with histopathologically proven GBM from 2009 to 2018. Data regarding the clinical and radiological characteristics as well as surgical outcomes were collected from the institute's electronic database. Taking Indian demographics into account, the authors used the cutoff age of 60 years to define patients as elderly. Frailty was estimated using the 11-point modified frailty index (mFI-11). Patients were divided into three groups: robust, with an mFI score of 0; moderately frail, with an mFI score of 1 or 2; and severely frail, with an mFI score ≥ 3. A questionnaire-based survey was done to assess caregivers' perceptions about postdischarge care.

RESULTS: Of the 276 patients, there were 93 (33.7%) elderly patients and 183 (66.3%) young or middle-aged patients. The proportion of severely frail patients was significantly more in the elderly group (38.7%) than in the young or middle-aged group (28.4%) (p < 0.001). The authors performed univariate and multivariate analysis of associations of different short-term outcomes with age, sex, frailty, and Charlson Comorbidity Index. On the multivariate analysis, only frailty was found to be a significant predictor for in-hospital mortality, postoperative complications, and length of hospital and ICU stay (p < 0.001). On Cox regression analysis, the severely frail group was found to have a significantly lower overall survival rate compared with the moderately frail (p = 0.001) and robust groups (p < 0.001). With the increase in frailty, there was a concomitant increase in the requirement for readmissions (p = 0.003), postdischarge specialist care (p = 0.001), and help from extrafamilial sources (p < 0.001). Greater dissatisfaction with psychosocial and financial support among the caregivers of severely frail patients was seen as they found themselves ill-equipped to provide postdischarge care at home (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Frailty is a better predictor of poorer surgical outcomes than chronological age in terms of duration of hospital and ICU stay, postoperative complications, and in-hospital mortality. It also adds to the psychosocial and financial burdens of the caregivers, making postdischarge care challenging.

PMID:33002866 | DOI:10.3171/2020.7.FOCUS20482