Background: Frailty has been associated with postoperative complications and mortality across surgical specialties, including vascular surgery. However, the influence of frailty on postoperative functional outcomes is unclear. We sought to determine the influence of frailty on functional outcomes after open or endovascular vascular procedures in patients with peripheral arterial disease.
Methods: This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. Eligible articles were identified through database searches of Pubmed and EMBASE in April 2017. Studies reporting on frailty and functional outcomes after vascular interventions for peripheral artery disease (PAD) were included. Outcomes of interest were dependency in activities of daily living (ADL), dependent mobility, discharge destination, disability-free survival, and quality of life. Individual studies were assessed for quality and risk of bias using the Quality in Prognosis Studies tool.
Results: Eight studies met the eligibility criteria and were included. The risk of bias was low in two studies, intermediate in three studies, and high in three studies. Methods for frailty assessment were different for each study. Frailty was a predictor for discharge to a higher level of care, dependent mobility, and dependency in ADL after vascular procedures for PAD. Both frailty models and individual frailty characteristics seem to be associated with these adverse functional outcomes.
Conclusions: Despite a limited amount of literature and an overall intermediate quality of the included studies, this systematic review shows an association between frailty and adverse functional outcomes after peripheral arterial procedures for PAD, including discharge to a care facility, dependent mobility, and a decline in ADL functioning.