Want to know whether elderly patients are more or less likely to have post-op complications following elective surgery? Ask them.
In a recent study, nearly 200 patients 69 years of age or older were asked to watch 10 animated video clips of activities spanning a wide range of functional capacities, then respond to a series of questions about their ability to perform each task. The result: Worse self-reported mobility was associated with more complications, later time to discharge and increased nursing home placement.
The video clips included walking on level ground, a slow jog, walking outdoors on uneven terrain, walking up a ramp with and without using a handrail, stepping over hurdles, ascending and descending stairs with and without the use of a handrail, and climbing stairs while carrying bags.
Although the study was small and more research is needed, the authors say the videos could turn out to be a "quick, reliable, and cost-effective" predictive tool, especially since "traditional risk assessments," such as ASA physical status classification, Revised Cardiac Risk Index, and five-point frailty evaluation, can be "too comprehensive, too focused on single organ systems, or too impractical."