A clinical frailty scale obtained from MDT discussion performs poorly in assessing frailty in haemodialysis recipients

Benjamin M Anderson, Muhammad Qasim, Gonzalo Correa, Felicity Evison, Suzy Gallier, Charles J Ferro, Thomas A Jackson, Adnan Sharif*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: The Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) is a commonly utilised frailty screening tool that has been associated with hospitalisation and mortality in haemodialysis recipients, but is subject to heterogenous methodologies including subjective clinician opinion. The aims of this study were to (i) examine the accuracy of a subjective, multidisciplinary assessment of CFS at haemodialysis Quality Assurance (QA) meetings (CFS-MDT), compared with a standard CFS score via clinical interview, and (ii) ascertain the associations of these scores with hospitalisation and mortality.

METHODS: We performed a prospective cohort study of prevalent haemodialysis recipients linked to national datasets for outcomes including mortality and hospitalisation. Frailty was assessed using the CFS after structured clinical interview. The CFS-MDT was derived from consensus at haemodialysis QA meetings, involving dialysis nurses, dietitians, and nephrologists.

RESULTS: 453 participants were followed-up for a median of 685 days (IQR 544-812), during which there were 96 (21.2%) deaths and 1136 hospitalisations shared between 327 (72.1%) participants. Frailty was identified in 246 (54.3%) participants via CFS, but only 120 (26.5%) via CFS-MDT. There was weak correlation (Spearman Rho 0.485, P < 0.001) on raw frailty scores and minimal agreement (Cohen's κ = 0.274, P < 0.001) on categorisation of frail, vulnerable and robust between the CFS and CFS-MDT. Increasing frailty was associated with higher rates of hospitalisation for the CFS (IRR 1.26, 95% C.I. 1.17-1.36, P = 0.016) and CFS-MDT (IRR 1.10, 1.02-1.19, P = 0.02), but only the CFS-MDT was associated with nights spent in hospital (IRR 1.22, 95% C.I. 1.08-1.38, P = 0.001). Both scores were associated with mortality (CFS HR 1.31, 95% C.I. 1.09-1.57, P = 0.004; CFS-MDT HR 1.36, 95% C.I. 1.16-1.59, P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Assessment of CFS is deeply affected by the underlying methodology, with the potential to profoundly affect decision-making. The CFS-MDT appears to be a weak alternative to conventional CFS. Standardisation of CFS use is of paramount importance in clinical and research practice in haemodialysis.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov : NCT03071107 registered 06/03/2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number80
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s).


  • Humans
  • Frailty/diagnosis
  • Hospitalization
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Frailty
  • Haemodialysis
  • Mortality
  • Hospitalisation
  • Clinical Frailty Scale


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