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      Calc Function

    • Calcs that help predict probability of a diseaseDiagnosis
    • Subcategory of 'Diagnosis' designed to be very sensitiveRule Out
    • Disease is diagnosed: prognosticate to guide treatmentPrognosis
    • Numerical inputs and outputsFormula
    • Med treatment and moreTreatment
    • Suggested protocolsAlgorithm





    Chief Complaint


    Organ System


    Patent Pending

    Karnofsky Performance Status Scale

    Determines ability of patient to tolerate chemotherapy.


    For patients ≥ 16 years old. Useful to use over time to track disease progression.
    When to Use
    Why Use

    Patients with advancing cancer or other chronic diseases — or even frailty progression in the elderly.

    • The Karnofsky Performance Status Scale (KPS) is used extensively and for many purposes, including response to chemotherapy in cancer and chronic disease assessment.
    • It quantifies a patient's functional abilities and impact of treatments like chemotherapy on their basic functional capacities.
    • It is sometimes also used prognostically and to help determine treatment.

    Performance status is highly correlated with survival time and need for services in the home. It may also help predict ability to thrive with invasive and intensive treatment.

    Normal no complaints; no evidence of disease
    Able to carry on normal activity; minor signs or symptoms of disease
    Normal activity with effort; some signs or symptoms of disease
    Cares for self; unable to carry on normal activity or to do active work
    Requires occasional assistance, but is able to care for most of his personal needs
    Requires considerable assistance and frequent medical care
    Disabled; requires special care and assistance
    Severely disabled; hospital admission is indicated although death not imminent
    Very sick; hospital admission necessary; active supportive treatment necessary
    Moribund; fatal processes progressing rapidly


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    Next Steps
    Creator Insights


    The Karnofsky Performance Status Scale is clearly useful to clinicians, and either this or another functional status scale should be used to improve understanding of patient needs and abilities, as well as potentially to prognose.


    We are unaware of validated management algorithms using the Karnofsky Scale.

    Critical Actions

    The Karnofsky Scale and other performance scales should be used in the holistic assessment of cancer patients, though its accuracy as a prognostic tool in individual cases is not yet well proved.

    About the Creator
    Dr. David Karnofsky
    Are you Dr. David Karnofsky?