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More recent frailty assessments predict mortality better in seniors

29 Jul 2019

Frailty is a good predictor of mortality risk in the elderly for up to 10 years, with more recent assessments resulting in improved predictions, a recent study has found.

Researchers performed a population-based cohort study on 909 community-dwelling elderly adults (mean age, 74.4±6.2 years; 55 percent female), of whom 549 underwent frailty assessments at two time points. Frailty was measured using the frailty phenotype (FP) and frailty index (FI).

Over a 10-year follow-up period, 292 deaths were reported, yielding a 33.8-percent mortality rate. This was higher in males (40.1 percent vs 28.6 percent) and for those aged ≥75 years (vs 65–74 years; 54.3 percent vs 17.8 percent). Participants in the lowest income bracket were also more likely to die than their counterparts in the highest group (35.5 percent vs 11.6 percent).

According to FP, 18.3 percent of the participants were frail at baseline. The corresponding figure according to FI was 48.1 percent. In both scales, mortality rates grew with increasing levels of frailty.

For instance, 60.2 percent of those defined by FP as frail died by 10 years, as opposed to only 26.3 percent of nonfrail seniors. In FI, 45.1 percent of those who were frail died by 10 years, much higher than the 21.4 percent mortality rate in the nonfrail participants.

In those with a second frailty assessment, follow-up findings were a stronger predictor of mortality than baseline frailty results.

“Although frailty measurement was a significant predictor of mortality risk up to 10 years, recency of measurement was a stronger predictor,” said researchers.

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