The clinical frailty scale as a triage tool for ICU admission of dialysis patients with COVID-19 - An ERACODA analysis

Pim Bouwmans, Lloyd Brandts, Luuk B Hilbrands, Raphaël Duivenvoorden, Priya Vart, Casper F M Franssen, Adrian Covic, Mahmud Islam, Clémentine Rabaté, Kitty J Jager, Marlies Noordzij, Ron T Gansevoort, Marc H Hemmelder*, ERACODA Collaborators

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Several guidelines recommend using the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) for triage of critically ill COVID-19 patients. This study evaluates the impact of CFS on intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate, and hospital- and ICU mortality rates in hospitalized dialysis patients with COVID-19.

METHODS: We analysed data of dialysis patients diagnosed with COVID-19 from the European Renal Association COVID-19 Database. The primary outcome was ICU admission rate and secondary outcomes were hospital- and ICU mortality until 3 months after COVID-19 diagnosis. Cox regression analyses were performed to assess associations between CFS and outcomes.

RESULTS: 1501 dialysis patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19, of whom 219 (15%) were admitted to an ICU. ICU admission rate was lowest (5%) in patients >75 years with CFS 7-9 and highest (27%) in patients 65-75 years with CFS 5. CFS 7-9 was associated with a lower ICU admission rate than CFS 1-3 (RR 0.49; 95%CI 0.27-0.87). Overall, mortality at three months was 34% in hospitalized patients, 65% in ICU admitted patients and highest in patients >75 years with CFS 7-9 (69%). Only 9% of patients with CFS ≥6 survived after ICU admission. After adjustment for age and sex, each CFS category ≥4 was associated with higher hospital and ICU mortality compared with CFS 1-3.

CONCLUSIONS: Frail dialysis patients with COVID-19 were less frequently admitted to the ICU. Large differences in mortality rates between fit and frail patients suggest that CFS may be a useful complementary triage tool for ICU admission in dialysis patients with COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2022

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