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Moving towards a better identification and management of frailty in ICU survivors
  1. Zafeiris Louvaris1,2,
  2. Daniel Langer1,2
  1. 1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, Research Group for Rehabilitation in Internal Disorders, Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2Clinical Department of Respiratory Diseases, UZ Leuven, BREATHE department CHROMETA, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zafeiris Louvaris, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, Research Group for Rehabilitation in Internal Disorders, Leuven B-3000, Belgium; zafeiris.louvaris{at}

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Frailty is a geriatric syndrome that is defined as ‘a physiologic state of increased vulnerability to stressors due to decreased physiologic reserves, and dysregulation, of multiple physiologic systems’.1 Frailty syndrome partly overlaps with sarcopenia, the latter encompass states of loss of muscle mass and function related to ageing alone.2 Frail patients present with an increased burden of symptoms including muscle weakness, excessive muscle fatigue during daily activities and reduced tolerance to medical and surgical interventions.3

Along these lines, studies have demonstrated that frailty is a common phenomenon observed in approximately 30% of adult intensive care unit (ICU) admissions.4 Patients with pre-ICU frailty have a higher prevalence of in-hospital mortality, long-term morbidity and mortality and poorer quality of life after hospital discharge compared with non-frail ICU patients.4 Nevertheless, limited knowledge exists as to whether post-ICU frailty impacts on long-term mortality and recovery to activities of daily living after hospital discharge.

In this issue of Thorax, Baldwin et al5 examined 185 elderly (>65 years old), acute respiratory failure (ARF) survivors to identify distinct frailty subtypes. Authors applied a novel statistical approach (ie, latent class analysis) for assessing whether different frailty phenotype domains5 (ie, grip strength, gait-speed, feelings of exhaustion, weight loss and physical activity) and differences in cognitive …

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  • Contributors ZL and DL wrote, revised and approved the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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