Lower Extremity Function Original Study| Volume 20, ISSUE 10, P1230-1235.e2, October 2019

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Frailty Status Predicts All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in Community Dwelling Older Adults



      To examine the relationship between frailty status and risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality.


      Longitudinal cohort study with an 11-year follow up.

      Setting and participants

      Data from the Survey on Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) were used. In the analysis, we included data from 11 European countries. We included men and women older than 50 years residing in Europe. Overall, 24,634 participants were analyzed with a mean age of 64.2 (9.8), 53.6% female, where 14.7% and 6.9% were found to be prefrail or frail, respectively, at the baseline.


      Frailty status was calculated using the SHARE–Frailty Instrument, categorizing the participants as robust, prefrail, and frail. Multivariate Cox regression models were used to estimate the risk of all-cause and cause-specific (stroke, heart attack, other cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory illness, infectious, and digestive and other) mortality.


      During the follow-up, and after adjusting for sex, age, education, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, and number of comorbidities, frailty was associated with a higher risk of all-cause (HR 2.17, 95% CI 1.90-2.48) and mortality due to stroke (HR 2.06, 95% CI 1.37-3.10), heart attack (HR 1.67, 95% CI 1.19-2.34), other cardiovascular disease (HR 2.77, 95% CI 1.87-4.12), cancer (HR 2.11, 95% CI 1.63-2.73), respiratory disease (HR 2.76, 95% CI 1.66-4.60), infectious diseases (HR 1.79, 95% CI 1.03-3.11), and digestive and other causes (HR 2.02, 95% CI 1.51-2.71). Prefrailty was associated with a higher risk of all-cause (HR 1.47, 95% CI 1.31-1.63), heart attack (HR 1.31, 95% CI 1.01-1.72), other cardiovascular disease (HR 2.03, 95% CI 1.46-2.81), respiratory disease (HR 1.70, 95% CI 1.09-2.65), and digestive and other causes (HR 1.50, 95% CI 1.18-1.91) mortality.

      Conclusions and implications

      Baseline prefrailty and frailty are associated with increased all-cause and cause-specific mortality over an 11-year follow up. Public health policy should include preventive programs aimed at older adults to prevent frailty and reduce mortality.


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