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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Dec;63(12):2463-2471. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13793. Epub 2015 Dec 14.

The Successful Aging after Elective Surgery (SAGES) Study: Cohort Description and Data Quality Procedures.

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Aging Brain Center, Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston, MA.
University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Meyers Primary Care Institute, Worcester, MA.
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI.
Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Department of Psychiatry, Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston, MA.
Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Contributed equally



Delirium is the most common complication of major elective surgery in older patients. The Successful Aging after Elective Surgery (SAGES) study was designed to examine novel risk factors and long-term outcomes associated with delirium. This report describes the cohort, quality assurance procedures, and results.


Long-term prospective cohort study.


Three academic medical centers.


A total of 566 patients age 70 and older without recognized dementia scheduled for elective major surgery.


Participants were assessed preoperatively, daily during hospitalization, and at variable monthly intervals for up to 36 months post-discharge. Delirium was assessed in hospital by trained study staff. Study outcomes included cognitive and physical function. Novel risk factors for delirium were assessed including genetic and plasma biomarkers, neuroimaging markers, and cognitive reserve markers. Interrater reliability (kappa and weighted kappa) was assessed for key variables in 119 of the patient interviews.


Participants were an average of 77 years old and 58% were female. The majority of patients (81%) were undergoing orthopedic surgery and 24% developed delirium post-operatively. Over 95% of eligible patients were followed for 18 months. There was >99% capture of key study outcomes (cognitive and functional status) at every study interview and interrater reliability was high (weighted kappas for delirium = 0.92 and for overall cognitive and functional outcomes = 0.94 -1.0). Completion rates for plasma biomarkers (4 timepoints) were 95%-99% and for neuroimaging (one year follow-up) was 86%.


The SAGES study will contribute to the understanding of novel risk factors, pathophysiology and long-term outcomes of delirium. This manuscript describes the cohort and data quality procedures, and will serve as a reference source for future studies based on SAGES.


Data Quality; Delirium; Longitudinal Study; Surgical Outcome

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