Validation of the Clinical Frailty Scale for Prediction of Thirty-Day Mortality in the Emergency Department

Tobias Kaeppeli, Marco Rueegg, Thomas Dreher-Hummel, Mikkel Brabrand, Søren Kabell-Nissen, Christopher R. Carpenter, Roland Bingisser, Christian H. Nickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Study objective: We validate the Clinical Frailty Scale by examining its independent predictive validity for 30-day mortality, ICU admission, and hospitalization and by determining its reliability. We also determine frailty prevalence in our emergency department (ED) as measured with the Clinical Frailty Scale. Methods: This was a prospective observational study including consecutive ED patients aged 65 years or older, from a single tertiary care center during a 9-week period. To examine predictive validity, association with mortality was investigated through a Cox proportional hazards regression; hospitalization and ICU transfer were investigated through multivariable logistic regression. We assessed reliability by calculating Cohen's weighted κ for agreement of experts who independently assigned Clinical Frailty Scale levels, compared with trained study assistants. Frailty was defined as a Clinical Frailty Scale score of 5 and higher. Results: A total of 2,393 patients were analyzed in this study, of whom 128 died. Higher frailty levels were associated with higher hazards for death independent of age, sex, and condition (medical versus surgical). The area under the curve for 30-day mortality prediction was 0.81 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.77 to 0.85), for hospitalization 0.72 (95% CI 0.70 to 0.74), and for ICU admission 0.69 (95% CI 0.66 to 0.73). Interrater reliability between the reference standard and the study team was good (weighted Cohen's κ was 0.74; 95% CI 0.64 to 0.85). Frailty prevalence was 36.8% (n=880). Conclusion: The Clinical Frailty Scale appears to be a valid and reliable instrument to identify frailty in the ED. It might provide ED clinicians with useful information for decisionmaking in regard to triage, disposition, and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-300
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


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