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Frailty trajectories in adult lung transplantation: A cohort study.

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Frailty is common in adults with advanced lung disease and is associated with death before and after lung transplantation. We aimed to determine whether frailty changes from before to after the lung transplant.


In a single-center, prospective cohort study among adults undergoing lung transplantation from 2010 to 2017, we assessed frailty by the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB; higher scores reflect less frailty) and Fried Frailty Phenotype (FFP; higher scores reflect greater frailty) before and repeatedly up to 36 months after transplant. We tested for changes in frailty scores over time using segmented mixed effects models, adjusting for age, sex, and diagnosis. We quantified the proportion of subjects transitioning between frailty states (frail vs not frail) from before to after the transplant.


In 246 subjects, changes in frailty occurred within the first 6 post-operative months and remained stable thereafter. The overall change in frailty was attributable to improvements among those subjects who were frail before transplant. They experienced a 5.1-point improvement in SPPB (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.6-5.7) and a 1.8-point improvement in FFP (95% CI -2.1 to -1.6) during the early period. Frailty by SPPB and FFP did not change in those who were not frail before transplant. Approximately 84% of survivors who were frail before transplant became not frail after transplant.


Pre-operative frailty resolves in many patients after lung transplantation. Because a large proportion of frailty may be attributable to advanced lung disease, frailty alone should not be an absolute contraindication to transplantation.

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