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Technology and health care for the elderly medical research studies

Focus on strategic priorities that have significant social impact.

CAT 2014-31

Elder-friendly Approaches to the Surgical Environment-using Biological samples to Identify & provide Optimized care (EASE-BIO)

This study will develop novel approaches to personalize patient care and match care to values by providing objective tools to physicians to empower and engage patients and caregivers with care planning and decision making, use state-of-the-art technology to create indicators to identify high-risk patients and use novel assessment tools to improve care across the continuum.

Research Results

Anticipated impact of findingsThere is a lack of objective predictors to risk stratify older acute surgical patients and track the impact of interventions on biological profiles - which allows for knowledge creation. This study will generate new knowledge using biological and bioinformatics tools, and combine basic science research with clinical outcomes in order to create novel predictive tools to help clinicians improve the care of our older high-risk frail surgical population. If found effective, Alberta’s Strategic Clinical Networks (SCN) plan to work with AIHS operations to disseminate and implement EASE principles across the Alberta. The EASE implementation strategy would incorporate the results of this CFN proposal (i.e. predictors to help with surgical risk stratification). The knowledge from this study will not only identify high-risk patients, but also allow for personalized treatment and preventative strategies leading to better clinical outcomes and quality of care.

Publications, presentations and webinars

About the Project

Our research group has recently shown that using radiologic tools to assess severe muscle depletion (sarcopenia) is a strong predictor of older patients’ postoperative survival following emergency surgery. Sarcopenia has also been shown to be associated with loss of function, falls, fractures, increased need for rehabilitation and longer hospital stays in the elderly.

Evaluating patient-specific risk factors for postoperative complications in the emergency surgery setting is crucial for improving patient care and their outcomes. But to date, there has been no study evaluating the muscle biology in elderly following emergency surgery.

The objective of our research is to understand how muscle characteristic and patient’s biologic samples (blood, urine and stool) provide an insight to overall health outcomes. This knowledge would not only identify high-risk patients, but also allow for future personalized treatment (e.g. nutritional/diet modifications, targeted rehabilitation programs), preventative strategies and objective tools to help with patient decision making.

For more details on the project rationale, hypothesis, objectives and research plan, click here.

Project Team

Principal Investigator:

Rachel Khadaroo, MD, PhD, FRCSC -- University of Alberta 


Vickie Baracos, PhD -- University of Alberta

David Broadhurst, BEng, MSc, PhD -- University of Alberta

Gane Wong, PhD -- University of Alberta 

Knowledge Users and Partners:

Douglas Hedden, MD, FRCSC -- Alberta Health Services

Duncan Robertson, MD -- Alberta Health Services

Alberta Innovates: Health Solutions

Project Contact: Rachel Khadaroo --

CAT 2014-31