Limited incremental predictive value of the frailty index and other vulnerability measures from routine care data for mortality risk prediction in older patients with COVID-19 in primary care

Hannah M. la Roi-Teeuw*, Kim Luijken, Marieke T. Blom, Jacobijn Gussekloo, Simon P. Mooijaart, Harmke A. Polinder-Bos, Maarten van Smeden, Geert Jan Geersing, Carline J. van den Dries

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, older patients in primary care were triaged based on their frailty or assumed vulnerability for poor outcomes, while evidence on the prognostic value of vulnerability measures in COVID-19 patients in primary care was lacking. Still, knowledge on the role of vulnerability is pivotal in understanding the resilience of older people during acute illness, and hence important for future pandemic preparedness. Therefore, we assessed the predictive value of different routine care-based vulnerability measures in addition to age and sex for 28-day mortality in an older primary care population of patients with COVID-19. Methods: From primary care medical records using three routinely collected Dutch primary care databases, we included all patients aged 70 years or older with a COVID-19 diagnosis registration in 2020 and 2021. All-cause mortality was predicted using logistic regression based on age and sex only (basic model), and separately adding six vulnerability measures: renal function, cognitive impairment, number of chronic drugs, Charlson Comorbidity Index, Chronic Comorbidity Score, and a Frailty Index. Predictive performance of the basic model and the six vulnerability models was compared in terms of area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC), index of prediction accuracy and the distribution of predicted risks. Results: Of the 4,065 included patients, 9% died within 28 days after COVID-19 diagnosis. Predicted mortality risk ranged between 7–26% for the basic model including age and sex, changing to 4–41% by addition of comorbidity-based vulnerability measures (Charlson Comorbidity Index, Chronic Comorbidity Score), more reflecting impaired organ functioning. Similarly, the AUC of the basic model slightly increased from 0.69 (95%CI 0.66 – 0.72) to 0.74 (95%CI 0.71 – 0.76) by addition of either of these comorbidity scores. Addition of a Frailty Index, renal function, the number of chronic drugs or cognitive impairment yielded no substantial change in predictions. Conclusion: In our dataset of older COVID-19 patients in primary care, the 28-day mortality fraction was substantial at 9%. Six different vulnerability measures had little incremental predictive value in addition to age and sex in predicting short-term mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
JournalBMC Primary Care
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2024

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