The basic objective of this paper is to evaluate an age-comorbidity index in a cohort of patients who were originally enrolled in a prospective study to identify risk factors for peri-operative complications. Two-hundred and twenty-six patients were enrolled in the study. The participants were patients with hypertension or diabetes who underwent elective surgery between 1982 and 1985 and who survived to discharge. Two-hundred and eighteen patients survived until discharge. These patients were followed for at least five years post-operatively. The estimated relative risk of death for each comorbidity rank was 1.4 and for each decade of age was 1.4. When age and comorbidity were modelled as a combined age-comorbidity score, the estimated relative risk for each combined age-comorbidity unit was 1.45. Thus, the estimated relative risk of death from an increase of one in the comorbidity score proved approximately equal to that from an additional decade of age. The combined age-comorbidity score may be useful in some longitudinal studies to estimate relative risk of death from prognostic clinical covariates.
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