Review article| Volume 7, ISSUE 6, P479-491, November 2016

The impact of frailty on postoperative outcomes in individuals aged 65 and over undergoing elective surgery for colorectal cancer: A systematic review


      Colorectal cancer surgery is frequently performed in the older population. Many older persons have less physiological reserves and are thus more susceptible to adverse postoperative outcomes. Therefore, it seems important to distinguish the fit patients from the more vulnerable or frail. The aim of this review is to examine the evidence regarding the impact of frailty on postoperative outcomes in older patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer. A systematic literature search of Medline Ovid was performed focusing on studies that examined the impact of frailty on postoperative outcomes after colorectal surgery in older people aged ≥65 years. The methodological quality of the studies was evaluated using the MINORS quality assessment. Five articles, involving four studies and 486 participants in total, were included. Regardless of varying definitions of frailty and postoperative outcomes, the frail patients had less favourable outcomes in all of the studies. Compared to the non-frail group, the frail group had a higher risk of developing moderate to severe postoperative complications, had longer hospital stays, higher readmission rates, and decreased long-term survival rates. The results of this systematic review suggest the importance of assessing frailty in older persons scheduled for colorectal surgery because frailty is associated with a greater risk of postoperative adverse outcomes. We conclude that, although there is no consensus on the definition of frailty, assessing frailty in colorectal oncology seems important to determine operative risks and benefits and to guide perioperative management.


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