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      Association of Postoperative Clinical Outcomes With Sarcopenia, Frailty, and Nutritional Status in Older Patients With Colorectal Cancer: Protocol for a Prospective Cohort Study

      , MBBS, BSc, MSc 1 , , , BSc, MSc, PhD 2 , , MD 3 , , BSc, MSc, PhD 4 , , BSc, MSc, PhD 2 , , MBChB 5 , , MS, MD 6 , , MBBS, MD 7 , , MBChB, DipLapSurg 8 , , BSc, PhD 2 , , MBBS, PhD 9
      (Reviewer), (Reviewer), (Reviewer), (Reviewer), (Reviewer)
      JMIR Research Protocols
      JMIR Publications
      sarcopenia, frailty, nutritional status, urine metabolomics, surgery, geriatric medicine

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          Older patients account for a significant proportion of patients undergoing colorectal cancer surgery and are vulnerable to a number of preoperative risk factors that are not often present in younger patients. Further, three preoperative risk factors that are more prevalent in older adults include frailty, sarcopenia, and malnutrition. Although each of these has been studied in isolation, there is little information on the interplay between them in older surgical patients. A particular area of increasing interest is the use of urine metabolomics for the objective evaluation of dietary profiles and malnutrition.


          Herein, we describe the design, cohort, and standard operating procedures of a planned prospective study of older surgical patients undergoing colorectal cancer resection across multiple institutions in the United Kingdom. The objectives are to determine the association between clinical outcomes and frailty, nutritional status, and sarcopenia.


          The procedures will include serial frailty evaluations (Clinical Frailty Scale and Groningen Frailty Indicator), functional assessments (hand grip strength and 4-meter walk test), muscle mass evaluations via computerized tomography morphometric analysis, and the evaluation of nutritional status via the analysis of urinary dietary biomarkers. The primary feasibility outcome is the estimation of the incidence rate of postoperative complications, and the primary clinical outcome is the association between the presence of postoperative complications and frailty, sarcopenia, and nutritional status. The secondary outcome measures are the length of hospital stay, 30-day hospital readmission rate, and mortality rate at days 30 and 90.


          Our study was approved by the National Health Service Research Ethics Committee (reference number: 19/WA/0190) via the Integrated Research Application System (project ID: 231694) prior to subject recruitment. Cardiff University is acting as the study sponsor. Our study is financially supported through an external, peer-reviewed grant from the British Geriatrics Society and internal funding resources from Cardiff University. The results will be disseminated through peer-review publications, social media, and conference proceedings.


          As frailty, sarcopenia, and malnutrition are all areas of common derangement in the older surgical population, prospectively studying these risk factors in concert will allow for the analysis of their interplay as well as the development of predictive models for those at risk of commonly tracked surgical complications and outcomes.

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          Classification of surgical complications: a new proposal with evaluation in a cohort of 6336 patients and results of a survey.

          Although quality assessment is gaining increasing attention, there is still no consensus on how to define and grade postoperative complications. This shortcoming hampers comparison of outcome data among different centers and therapies and over time. A classification of complications published by one of the authors in 1992 was critically re-evaluated and modified to increase its accuracy and its acceptability in the surgical community. Modifications mainly focused on the manner of reporting life-threatening and permanently disabling complications. The new grading system still mostly relies on the therapy used to treat the complication. The classification was tested in a cohort of 6336 patients who underwent elective general surgery at our institution. The reproducibility and personal judgment of the classification were evaluated through an international survey with 2 questionnaires sent to 10 surgical centers worldwide. The new ranking system significantly correlated with complexity of surgery (P < 0.0001) as well as with the length of the hospital stay (P < 0.0001). A total of 144 surgeons from 10 different centers around the world and at different levels of training returned the survey. Ninety percent of the case presentations were correctly graded. The classification was considered to be simple (92% of the respondents), reproducible (91%), logical (92%), useful (90%), and comprehensive (89%). The answers of both questionnaires were not dependent on the origin of the reply and the level of training of the surgeons. The new complication classification appears reliable and may represent a compelling tool for quality assessment in surgery in all parts of the world.
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            Colorectal cancer statistics, 2020

            Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States. Every 3 years, the American Cancer Society provides an update of CRC occurrence based on incidence data (available through 2016) from population-based cancer registries and mortality data (through 2017) from the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2020, approximately 147,950 individuals will be diagnosed with CRC and 53,200 will die from the disease, including 17,930 cases and 3,640 deaths in individuals aged younger than 50 years. The incidence rate during 2012 through 2016 ranged from 30 (per 100,000 persons) in Asian/Pacific Islanders to 45.7 in blacks and 89 in Alaska Natives. Rapid declines in incidence among screening-aged individuals during the 2000s continued during 2011 through 2016 in those aged 65 years and older (by 3.3% annually) but reversed in those aged 50 to 64 years, among whom rates increased by 1% annually. Among individuals aged younger than 50 years, the incidence rate increased by approximately 2% annually for tumors in the proximal and distal colon, as well as the rectum, driven by trends in non-Hispanic whites. CRC death rates during 2008 through 2017 declined by 3% annually in individuals aged 65 years and older and by 0.6% annually in individuals aged 50 to 64 years while increasing by 1.3% annually in those aged younger than 50 years. Mortality declines among individuals aged 50 years and older were steepest among blacks, who also had the only decreasing trend among those aged younger than 50 years, and excluded American Indians/Alaska Natives, among whom rates remained stable. Progress against CRC can be accelerated by increasing access to guideline-recommended screening and high-quality treatment, particularly among Alaska Natives, and elucidating causes for rising incidence in young and middle-aged adults.
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              A global clinical measure of fitness and frailty in elderly people.

              There is no single generally accepted clinical definition of frailty. Previously developed tools to assess frailty that have been shown to be predictive of death or need for entry into an institutional facility have not gained acceptance among practising clinicians. We aimed to develop a tool that would be both predictive and easy to use. We developed the 7-point Clinical Frailty Scale and applied it and other established tools that measure frailty to 2305 elderly patients who participated in the second stage of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA). We followed this cohort prospectively; after 5 years, we determined the ability of the Clinical Frailty Scale to predict death or need for institutional care, and correlated the results with those obtained from other established tools. The CSHA Clinical Frailty Scale was highly correlated (r = 0.80) with the Frailty Index. Each 1-category increment of our scale significantly increased the medium-term risks of death (21.2% within about 70 mo, 95% confidence interval [CI] 12.5%-30.6%) and entry into an institution (23.9%, 95% CI 8.8%-41.2%) in multivariable models that adjusted for age, sex and education. Analyses of receiver operating characteristic curves showed that our Clinical Frailty Scale performed better than measures of cognition, function or comorbidity in assessing risk for death (area under the curve 0.77 for 18-month and 0.70 for 70-month mortality). Frailty is a valid and clinically important construct that is recognizable by physicians. Clinical judgments about frailty can yield useful predictive information.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                August 2021
                17 August 2021
                : 10
                : 8
                : e16846
                [1 ] School of Medicine Cardiff University Cardiff United Kingdom
                [2 ] Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences Aberystwyth University Aberystwyth United Kingdom
                [3 ] Department of Surgery College of Medicine University of Florida Gainesville, FL United States
                [4 ] Department of Biostatistics and Health Informatics Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience King's College London United Kingdom
                [5 ] Department of Surgery Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Cardiff United Kingdom
                [6 ] Department of Surgery Harborview Medical Center University of Washington Seattle, WA United States
                [7 ] North Bristol National Health Service Trust Bristol United Kingdom
                [8 ] Royal United Hospitals Bath National Health Service Foundation Trust Bath United Kingdom
                [9 ] Division of Population Medicine Cardiff University Cardiff United Kingdom
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Nia Angharad Humphry HumphryNA1@ 123456cardiff.ac.uk
                Author information
                ©Nia Angharad Humphry, Thomas Wilson, Michael Christian Cox, Ben Carter, Marco Arkesteijn, Nicola Laura Reeves, Scott Brakenridge, Kathryn McCarthy, John Bunni, John Draper, Jonathan Hewitt. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (https://www.researchprotocols.org), 17.08.2021.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 30 October 2019
                : 21 August 2020
                : 13 January 2021
                : 24 March 2021

                sarcopenia,frailty,nutritional status,urine metabolomics,surgery,geriatric medicine


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