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Utility of hospital frailty risk score for predicting postoperative outcomes in craniopharyngioma



Frailty is an age-associated decline in functional status leading to increased vulnerability to otherwise innocuous stressors. In neurosurgical patients, frailty has been associated with postoperative complications, increased mortality, longer hospitalization, and increased care costs for a variety of conditions. This study seeks to determine the association between frailty and postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing surgery for craniopharyngioma.


The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was queried for patients diagnosed with craniopharyngioma who underwent surgery via either craniotomy or transsphenoidal approach. Comorbid diagnoses were used to calculate the Hospital Frailty Risk Score (HFRS) and assign patients to low (< 5), intermediate (5–15), or high-risk (> 15) categories. Logistic regression was completed to determine whether the HFRS category was predictive of mortality, postoperative complication, extended hospitalization, or increased hospital costs compared to age.


Increased frailty score was predictive of increased length of stay, increased hospital costs, and non-home discharge in binary logistic regression with good discrimination on the ROC curve compared to age at admission. HFRS risk categories were significantly predictive of the development of any complication, with 100% of high-risk patients developing a complication compared to 76% of intermediate-risk and 63% of low-risk patients. HFRS risk categories were also predictive of the extended length of stay (71%, 49%, and 11% for high-, intermediate-, and low-risk, respectively) and non-home discharge (86%, 56%, and 17%). Regression analysis was unable to be performed for mortality due to the low number of deaths in the study group.


In patients undergoing any surgery for craniopharyngioma, frailty is predictive of increased hospital length of stay and overall care costs. HFRS failed to independently predict mortality because the incidence of mortality is too low in this population to analyze. The HFRS is a valuable tool to identify post-operative outcomes following surgery for craniopharyngioma.

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Manuscript drafting: RP, SK, EJ. Analysis and interpretation: RP and SK. Tables and Figures: RP and SK. Study supervision: BG. Manuscript final review: All the authors.

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Correspondence to Bharat Guthikonda.

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As the NIS database is publicly available and completely de-identified database, IRB approval or consent forms were not necessary.

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Peterson, R., Kandregula, S., Jee, E. et al. Utility of hospital frailty risk score for predicting postoperative outcomes in craniopharyngioma. J Neurooncol (2022).

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  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Frailty
  • Transsphenoidal surgery
  • Skull base surgery
  • Pituitary surgery